Former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri recently returned to West London, taking up the vacancy at Fulham mere hours after former Chelsea midfielder Slaviša Jokanović was shown the door. (Incidentlly, it was Ranieri under whose tenure Chelsea signed Jokanović, in the year 2000!)
Jokanović had led the Cottagers back to the Premier League last season, but with just one win from the first twelve matches, Fulham were already sinking back down without a trace. Things are already looking better under the new coach, as his first match in charge was against fellow one-win team Southampton, and Ranieri managed to collect all three points to earn himself a perfect start (former Chelsea fan favorite André Schürrle was in the goals, too, in the 3-2 win).
But Fulham need more help than that. With the January transfer window looming, Ranieri’s already being linked with several of his former players, many of whom aren’t playing as much as they once did when Leicester City won their most unlikely title. These names include Danny Simpson, Christian Fuchs, Shinji Okazaki, Robert Huth, and our very own Danny Drinkwater.
It’s not the greatest source, Team Talk, but a loan deal would make plenty of sense for all involved. Despite a good summer transfer window, which saw them bring in highly rated midfielder Jean Michaël Seri and André Zambo Anguissa from Ligue 1, Fulham have had severe troubles in the middle of the park and Drinkwater’s Premier League experience could be useful indeed.
Since joining Chelsea in 2017 for an eye-watering £34 million, the former England international has barely played more than 1000 minutes (23 appearances) across all competitions. Except for a memorable goal against Stoke, his contributions have been negligible, and even more so since Sarri has taken over. But Drinkwater’s also on high wages and contracted through 2022, so there’s little hope of a sale.
A loan with perhaps some wage subsidy is just about the best solution Chelsea can hope for, and it’s one that should serve Danny’s interests, too. Whether it’s Fulham or some other team, it’s the likely outcome for January.