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06th Aug 2022

Thomas Tuchel admits Chelsea forwards are avoiding ‘cursed’ No 9 shirt

Daniel Brown

‘It’s cursed, people tell me it’s cursed’

Thomas Tuchel has suggested that Chelsea’s forwards do not want to wear the No 9 shirt after becoming convinced that it is cursed.

The Blues do not have a No 9 going into the new season, with Romelu Lukaku – who returned to Inter Milan on loan following an underwhelming season back at Stamford Bridge – the last to wear the shirt.

A number of high-profile forwards have struggled in the No 9 shirt during their time with Chelsea, including Fernando Torres, Alvaro Morata, Hernan Crespo, Gonzalo Higuain and Radamel Falcao.

Tuchel says No 9 shirt has not been purposefully left open

While the London club are thought to be in the market for a new striker before the transfer window closes, manager Tuchel confirmed the No 9 has not been purposefully left open for a potential arrival.

“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.

“There was not a big demand for No 9, when players sometimes want to change numbers. But, surprisingly, nobody wants to touch it. Everybody who has been at the club longer than me tells me ‘ah, you know, like he had the nine and he did not score and he had the nine and did also not score’. So now we have a moment where nobody wants to touch the number nine.”

Tuchel added: “I’m also superstitious, I can understand why players maybe don’t touch it and have other preferences. It’s like this, but I think Raheem will help us a lot and in general it’s our responsibility to create more offensive positions to have maybe a bit more players in the box.”

Avoiding the No 9 at all costs, but not Tammy

Two of Chelsea most prolific and successful strikers in recent years, Didier Drogba and Diego Costa, wore the No 11 and No 19 shirts respectively during their time at Stamford Bridge.

However, Tammy Abraham did score 21 Premier League goals in two seasons with nine on his back, but he was sold to Roma last summer.

New Chelsea signing Raheem Sterling chose to wear No 17 for the Blues, while Kai Havertz dons 29, Timo Werner is No 11 and Armando Broja has taken the No 18 shirt he wore on loan at Southampton last campaign.

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