West Ham United were linked with a quartet of Chelsea midfielders during the summer but two of them now look out of reach.
West Ham showed real ambition in the summer firstly by appointing title-winning manager Manuel Pellegrini and then by backing him with £100 million worth of new signings.
The Chilean moved to strengthen all areas of the Hammers squad.
But despite bringing in the likes of Jack Wilshere and Carlos Sanchez, their subsequent injury layoffs, the loss of Manuel Lanzini through his serious pre-World Cup knee injury and the departure of Cheikhou Kouyate and Edimilson Fernandes have left West Ham short in the heart of the team.
The Hammers were linked with a host of central midfielders during the summer.
Four names that West Ham were keen on were all at the same club, London rivals Chelsea.
When the transfer window slammed shut in August, though, Drinkwater, Barkley and Loftus-Cheek remained with the Blues while Bakayoko was shipped out on loan to Italian giants AC Milan.
In recent weeks Barkley and Loftus Cheek have come to the fore at Stamford Bridge scoring important goals and getting the kind of game time their prodigious talents warrant.
The pair’s form has undoubtedly put paid to reports of a move away in January to West Ham or anywhere for that matter.
But it also pushes 28-year-old Danny Drinkwater further down the pecking order in West London and potentially closer to a move to West Ham.
Drinkwater has not made a single competitive appearance for Chelsea this season under Mauricio Sarri and was the most heavily linked of Chelsea’s midfield quartet with a switch to the Hammers in the summer (The Sun).
The midfielder, similar in stature and style to homegrown Hammers skipper Mark Noble possesses more strength and perhaps a touch more pace and given Pellegrini’s injury issues would be a sound addition.
He only started 12 games last season following a big money move from Leicester City and is clearly not fancied by Sarri.
A loan with the option to buy would suit all parties and provide Drinkwater with the incentive of earning a permanent deal should he move to the London Stadium.