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Danny Drinkwater has opened up on his frustrating time at Chelsea in a candid interview in which he reveals former manager Maurizio Sarri brutally axed him from his plans with only an hour left in the transfer window.
Back in 2017, Drinkwater secured a dream move to Stamford Bridge after Chelsea forked out £35m to sign the Premier League winner from Leicester.
But the midfielder would struggle with injuries throughout his time in west London and would go on to make just 23 appearances for the club before being released this summer at the end of his five-year deal, thought to be worth £110,000 per week.
In an interview with Sky Sports News, Drinkwater opened up on the difficulties he experienced during his time with Chelsea.
He recalled an incident when former Blues boss Maurizo Sarri gave him just an hour's notice on deadline day that the club planned to sell him to a foreign team.
"It got to the last hour of the transfer window and [I] got pulled into the office, not expected at all," said Drinkwater.
"'Don't think you're going to be in our plans'. This is Sarri, being translated by Gianfranco[Zola]. And I was like, 'What?'
"Sarri and I got on like a house on fire off the pitch. On the pitch, we were like chalk and cheese.
'I'm angry, not bitter.' ❌— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 8, 2022
In his first TV interview in more than four years, Danny Drinkwater speaks exclusively to about his troubled five-year spell at Chelsea. 🎬pic.twitter.com/dmdz5slI4p
"I was like, 'Why are you telling me now? An hour before the window closes? I need time'.
"He replied, 'No, no, we've got clubs abroad you can look at…'
"My reaction was, 'No, I've got my young son. He is my priority'. So I decided to stay until January."
Drinkwater would remain at Chelsea before joining Burnley on loan 18 months later.
But he would make just two appearances at Turf Moor before returning to his parent club.
Further loan spells at Aston Villa, Kasımpasa and Reading followed for Drinkwater before his exit from Chelsea was finally confirmed at the end of last season.
The former England international says he hasn't lost his passion for the game and is considering several offers after becoming a free agent.
"There are a few offers flying about. It's a weird time for football, especially when you're free to the market," added Drinkwater.
"That last season helped me massively, getting all those games under my belt, and hopefully the second half of the season showed I've still got the ability and hunger to push myself.
"There are options, it's just about the decision. I love winning, so it's a difficult thing to let go at this age."