A £35million signing from Leicester City last summer, Drinkwater has not been named in Chelsea’s Europa League squad and did not even make the substitutes’ bench for the Carabao Cup victory over Liverpool.
That has sparked suggestions Drinkwater could have already played his last game for Chelsea, having started just 12 matches for the club in all competitions.
Drinkwater earns around £100,000-a-week at Chelsea, meaning he has cost the club well over £40m in transfer fees and wages despite his minimal impact.
Chelsea were keen to sell Drinkwater or send him out on loan during the summer, but the 28-year-old wanted to see whether or not he would feature in Sarri’s plans.
The closure of the transfer window before the Premier League season started meant that Drinkwater would have only been able to go overseas or leave on loan to a Championship club after August 9 – neither of which was attractive to him.
Even though he is yet to even appear on the bench, it is understood Drinkwater is prepared to wait until the end of the season to find the right move if it does not come up in January.
Chelsea will find it difficult to find any club willing to match Drinkwater’s wages and the former England international cannot afford to get his next move wrong.
His last competitive appearance for Chelsea came in a defeat at Manchester City last March and he has not featured in an England squad since declining manager Gareth Southgate’s call-up almost a year ago.
Chelsea signed midfielders Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic this summer, while N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley, Cesc Fabregas, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and even 18-year-old Ethan Ampadu are ahead of Drinkwater in Sarri’s pecking order.