Leicester city appear to have held on to Riyad Mahrez and Demarai Gray as the transfer window closed but saw England midfielder Danny Drinkwater depart to Chelsea for a club-record fee.
Drinkwater’s move to the Premier League champions was officially confirmed more than two hours after Thursday’s 11pm transfer deadline had passed, with the 27-year-old signing a five-year contract with the Blues where he will be reunited with former Foxes midfield colleague N’Golo Kante,.
The statement reads “Leicester City football Club has agreed a deal for the transfer of midfielder Danny Drinkwater to Chelsea for a club-record fee.
“Leicester wishes to express its gratitude to Danny for his contribution to the team’s achievements over the past five years, as he leaves with the best wishes of everyone at the football club.”
No fee was announced but reports suggest Chelsea have paid in the region of £35million for Drinkwater, who made 217 appearances for Leicester since joining from Manchester United in 2012 and helped them win the Premier League in 2016.
Mahrez, though, remains a Leicester player – for the time being at least.
Chelsea, Tottenham and Barcelona were linked with Mahrez but Leicester stuck to their valuation of the player, thought to be upwards of £40million.
The Spanish window remains open for another 24 hours, though, so there is a chance Mahrez could still leave.
Drinkwater’s move came after Chelsea suffered a dramatic late blow when Everton midfielder Ross Barkley rejected a move to the Premier League champions after travelling to their training ground for a medical.
On a day of frenetic spending that took the Premier League total to a record far above £1 billion, Antonio Conte’s side also missed out on two of their other targets – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Fernando Llorente.
Oxlade-Chamberlain signed for Liverpool and Spaniard Llorente joined Tottenham Hotspur in deals worth £35 million and £12 million respectively.
But the champions still managed some business, paying Torino £23 million for defender Davide Zappacosta before pushing through the late deal for Drinkwater.