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Thomas Tuchel: Chelsea no.9 shirt cursed as Blues squad avoid taking Romelu Lukaku's number

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Thomas Tuchel: Chelsea no.9 shirt cursed as Blues squad avoid taking Romelu Lukaku's number

Thomas Tuchel has admitted the number nine shirt at Chelsea is cursed which is why no players took the number for the 2022-23 season. 

Chelsea begin their new campaign on Saturday evening with a trip to Everton and have three new senior signings in the squad, as well as the addition of Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa. 

All have been assigned shirt numbers - Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella - while many current squad members have changed their number for the upcoming season. Conor Gallagher and Armando Broja are two of those players.

However, following the departure of club-record signing Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan, the number nine shirt has been left vacant.

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Romelu Lukaku scored just 15 goals for Chelsea last season. (Alamy)
Romelu Lukaku scored just 15 goals for Chelsea last season. (Alamy)

Whether a player would’ve taken over the number was uncertain, and that has now been confirmed that nobody, as of yet, has decided to switch to the nine. 

Lukaku joined a long list of strikers who failed to succeed at Chelsea wearing the number nine shirt.

Gonzalo Higuain, Radamel Falcao, Hernan Crespo, Fernando Torres and Alvaro Morata all failed to deliver, with Tammy Abraham - academy graduate - the only player of recent time to earn a decent return in the shirt before leaving for AS Roma. 

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Tuchel has explained why the players have left the number alone, opting to have other numbers.

“It’s cursed, it’s cursed, people tell me it’s cursed," said Tuchel

“"It’s not the case that we leave it open for tactical reasons, for some players in the pipeline that come in and naturally take it.

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“There was not a big demand for number nine when players sometimes want to change numbers.

"Surprisingly, nobody wants to touch it.

"Everybody who is here longer than me tells me, ‘ah, you know, he had the nine and he did not score and he had the nine and did also not score’.

"So we now we have a moment where nobody wants to touch the number nine.

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"I’m also superstitious, I can understand why players maybe don’t touch it and have other preferences."

Chelsea have been linked with a striker this summer but it remains unclear if they will get one over the line before the window closes at the start of September. 

However, if one does come in, they will probably want to take the advice of the current squad and look at the track record before being sure if they wanted to take on the task of being the next to wear the cursed shirt number. 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea, Premier League, Football

Matthew Debono
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