Danny Drinkwater is expected back at Chelsea on January 6, but his return to Stamford Bridge may not last particularly long.
As noted by BBC Sport, the 29-year-old joined Burnley on loan this past summer on a six-month deal as he continued to struggle for playing time with the Blues.
With that seemingly unlikely to change under Frank Lampard, he was shipped out on a temporary basis, and it now looks as though he could be set to swap Burnley for Aston Villa in the New Year on another loan exit, as per Sky Sports.
Drinkwater’s stint at Turf Moor hasn’t gone to plan as he’s made just two appearances for Sean Dyche’s men all season, and so it’s not the solution that he would have hoped for when he left Chelsea.
In turn, a fresh start elsewhere could be what’s needed for him, and with Villa being dealt a major blow this month after John McGinn suffered a serious injury, midfield reinforcements will surely be welcomed with open arms by boss Dean Smith.
Villa sit in a precarious position after 20 games, as they are down in the relegation zone in 18th place having collected just 18 points thus far.
While they’re only a point away from safety as things stand, any signings in January could be crucial in helping them put together a run of results in the second half of the campaign to get themselves out of trouble.
Time will tell if Drinkwater arrives in the New Year to try and fill that void left behind by McGinn, but the report above from Sky Sports would suggest that Burnley don’t intend to extend his stay and with Lampard having plenty of options in midfield himself for Chelsea, it doesn’t seem likely that he will get a chance in west London this season.
On top of that, after Chelsea had their transfer ban reduced to allow them to sign players in January, they now have the freedom to allow Lampard to stamp his mark on the squad which could make life even more difficult for Drinkwater to secure a long-term future at the club.