It was one of the last deals to be confirmed on what proved to be a frantic transfer deadline day for Chelsea. But, in the early hours of the morning immediately after, the Blues announced Danny Drinkwater as the club's sixth and final signing of a long, drawn-out summer.
The stories were plentiful from Stamford Bridge. From manager Antonio Conte's apparent angst at a perceived lack of transfer movement—something that continues to remain prevalent and was a big topic on the eve of the new season—to even Thomas Tuchel being linked with his job, Chelsea's movement in the market dominated conversation.
The Blues saw the likes of John Terry, Nathan Ake, Nathaniel Chalobah and Nemanja Matic depart on permanent transfers, with the latter two raising big concerns.
With Chalobah and Matic no longer in the squad, it left holes in Conte's side. There were fears over Chelsea starting the campaign with just three central midfielders, heightening the need for another player to be drafted in.
Chelsea FC @ChelseaFC
A message from our new number 6 - Danny Drinkwater 💪 #WelcomeDrinks https://t.co/AMirDpaBmc2017-9-1 17:27:26
Those fears hit fever pitch when Cesc Fabregas was sent off on the opening-weekend defeat to Burnley, leaving him suspended for the match with Tottenham Hotspur. Conte had to rush Tiemoue Bakayoko back from injury to start that game while also playing David Luiz as a makeshift midfielder.
Drinkwater's move was protracted, taking much longer than it had to before he was eventually seen in the club's colours.
Capturing the former Leicester City man improves Chelsea's numbers, but does it add to the quality Conte can draw upon as 2017/18 unfolds? Is Drinkwater the sort of player the Blues need to bolster their midfield? Was the Englishman worth the wait?
We took to social media to gauge opinion across the Chelsea faithful.
What the polls are saying
Garry Hayes @garryhayes
POLL: Where do #CFC fans stand on the signing of Danny Drinkwater? Any other thoughts not in the voting options, add to the thread...2017-9-5 10:22:01
Judging by those who voted on Twitter, support for the signing of Drinkwater is unequivocal; the Blues are in a stronger position now than they were on transfer deadline day before his signing was confirmed, according to fans.
Costing Chelsea £35 million, the concern surrounding Drinkwater's arrival was that the Blues were paying top dollar for a player to warm their bench. With N'Golo Kante and Bakayoko seemingly marked out to be the preferred option in central midfield, it meant predictions were on the England international competing with Fabregas for game time.
Now he's at Stamford Bridge, fans aren't convinced that will be the case; the notion being Drinkwater will allow for a healthy squad rotation as Conte juggles a Premier League title defence with the club's Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup ambitions.
There is some concern, however, that another experienced head in midfield will block the pathway for youth players at Stamford Bridge. If Bakayoko was Matic's replacement, Drinkwater is Chalobah's, who moved on to Watford this summer.
Where Chalobah is concerned, Chelsea fans wanted to see him given more opportunities to make it in the first team under Conte. After being at the club since he was 10, the academy graduate eventually made his debut last season and impressed.
The 22-year-old left looking for more football, though, and now Drinkwater's arrival for a sizeable fee will surely prevent another youngster from taking Chalobah's place.
What social media is saying
We saw how Chelsea fans voted on social media, but what are they saying about Drinkwater's capture? Here are some of the best tweets.
Jared Chammach @JaredLuiz12
@garryhayes He's here to give Kante and Baka competition/rest when we have to play cup games. Not a chance those 2 aren't our first choice.2017-9-5 14:23:34
Kyle Shentall @iKyleShentall
@garryhayes Will strengthen midfield but at the same time it blocks youth pathway. I love to see youth come through the ranks.2017-9-5 10:26:43
@garryhayes Strengthen. Player with good experience, homegrown, reliable. You know what you will get, Conte player.2017-9-5 12:01:50
@garryhayes No where near as bad as people are making out. 6 players signed. Musonda & Christensen retained. Drinkwater a solid CM, PL winner.2017-9-5 10:32:01
Owen Roberts @sidneyfrond
@garryhayes We needed midfield depth. CL experience, understanding with Kante, knows how to slog out a league campaign. Great signing.2017-9-5 11:10:32
DUKE PUTRA @_jdPutra
@garryhayes We need him not Ross Barkley, because we have Baker and Loftus-Cheek. They are talented player but unlucky not get chance2017-9-5 13:45:48
Adam Dowrick @dowza8
@garryhayes good squad player. Didn't need first team replacements, just squad depth. He is a start, but need more of the same2017-9-5 10:17:48
@garryhayes Can see him being more useful than Oscar was.2017-9-5 13:27:27
rysn sprsks @rynsprks
@garryhayes Matic for Drinky doesn't make sense unless Matic forced move. Otherwise I'd prefer Matic.2017-9-5 16:26:26
@garryhayes He's English -that's about it. Will he be a regular starter? Not a name you'll put down 1st. Will he enjoy being a squad player? upto him2017-9-5 15:59:30
Donald DV Sutherland @dvsuds
@garryhayes Great rotation option. Good squad for epl and ucl now. Just need that extra injection of quality. Mahrez at RW would have been awesome2017-9-5 13:53:15
What influencers think
Nizaar Kinsella is the Chelsea correspondent for Goal, and he believes the Blues have signed a player in Drinkwater who still has much to learn at the highest level.
"He has moved to Chelsea to get to the next level in his career," he said. "That also means that he's not quite there yet and needs to develop more. But he is direct, and I'm looking forward to seeing Eden Hazard and Pedro on the counter-attack from his long-range passing.
"He has work to do, but it should work out well in the long term for both club and player."
Popular Twitter account Chelsea HQ agreed, saying that while the Blues may have paid more than they wanted for Drinkwater, he will strengthen Conte's side at a vital moment.
"He is a crucial, but pricey, deadline-day signing. Drinkwater gives us some much-needed depth in midfield as we were lacking in that department when the season started.
"I would have preferred keeping Chalobah at the club, but Drinkwater's a good alternative with plenty of experience."