Drinkwater completed a £35m transfer from Leicester to Stamford Bridge on transfer deadline day last week, but it took until the early hours of Friday morning to be made official.
The England international has not played for Leicester all season due to a minor groin injury, but Standard Sport understands that he returned to training in the days leading up to his Chelsea transfer.
It is believed he has joined in the sessions at Chelsea without feeling discomfort and is ready to face his former club at the King Power Stadium.
The 27-year-old is in danger of facing a hostile reception from Leicester fans, having handed in a transfer request eight days ago to try and force the move through. N’Golo Kante, who also left Leicester for Chelsea last summer, was booed on his first return to the stadium 12 months ago.
Both players were influential members of the first XI that won the Premier League for Leicester under Claudio Ranieri in 2016, but Kante’s treatment last season showed that his part in the triumph was quickly forgotten.
Given that he hasn’t played a competitive game this term Drinkwater is most likely to be named on the bench at best, especially as Antonio Conte’s side have won their last two fixtures.
That won’t stop him from getting jeered by the home crowd — Kante was an unused substitute when he was targeted by the boo-boys in a League Cup tie last September.
In pictures | Chelsea transfer signings 2017-18
1/6 Alvaro Morata
(Real Madrid, undisclosed)
2/6 Danny Drinkwater
Chelsea FC via Getty Images
3/6 Davide Zappacosta
Chelsea FC via Getty Images
4/6 Tiemoue Bakayoko
5/6 Antonio Rudiger
6/6 Willy Caballero
(Manchester City, free)
It took four bids for Chelsea to finally acquire Drinkwater from Craig Shakespeare’s side and Standard Sport understands the player still faced an anxious wait over whether the deal would go through before the deadline expired.
It is believed terms over the £35m fee were agreed by Thursday evening and he was given permission by Leicester City to go to Chelsea’s training ground for a medical.
However, Leicester were not going to give the final go ahead until they signed his replacement and the acquisition of Adrien Silva from Sporting Lisbon was completed with just minutes to spare as that transfer had to be granted international clearance.
Both Chelsea and Leicester had to apply to the Premier League for a deal sheet — which allows clubs an extra two hours to complete the paperwork if they confirm a transfer has been agreed — to finalise the move.
It was done by the 1am deal-sheet deadline and it was officially announced by Leicester City at 1.28am.
Standard Sport revealed that Leicester always wanted in excess of £30m for the former Manchester United trainee.
Chelsea had bids of £18m, £25m, and one on deadline day worth £27m plus £5m in add-ons rejected before finally convincing Leicester to sell at £35m.
Drinkwater is confident he will feature regularly for Chelsea despite competition from Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas for a place in front of the defence.
Coach Conte values him highly and Drinkwater is already hoping that he will play enough games to earn a recall to the England squad next month. He was handed three caps by coach Roy Hodgson before Euro 2016, but was left out of the squad for the Championships.
Drinkwater was an unused substitute in the one game Sam Allardyce was in charge of, against Slovakia in September 2016, and then missed the November internationals through injury.
He has not been called up by England coach Gareth Southgate since due to more injury problems, but is aiming to earn a spot for England’s final two World Cup qualifiers next month against Slovenia and Lithuania.
Chelsea have seven matches in just 21 days this month and Conte has already promised he will rotate his squad.