One of Chelsea’s first tasks when Alvaro Morata officially completes his switch from Real Madrid is to allocate him a shirt number.
There are a few to pick from – and while one stands out it might be a mistake to give it to the striker.
Morata is joining the club after Chelsea were able to agree a fee of around £60million with Real Madrid.
He is still to agree personal terms and undergo a medical, however those are expected to be a formality.
He has already gone as far as saying an emotional farewell to his Real Madrid team-mates and speaking of his excitement at becoming a Chelsea player.
He will be unable to play in the Blues’ match with Arsenal this weekend – but could feature next Tuesday in the pre-season meeting with Bayern Munich in Singapore.
But which shirt number will he be wearing?
Diego Costa’s No.19 jersey could soon be vacant with the Spain international expected to make way. 8, 20 and 25 are also unused. But the obvious option is No.9 – the traditional number worn by a club’s leading striker.
But when it comes to Chelsea, that particular shirt has become the one to avoid.
Most Chelsea fans would agree that the last striker to live up to the billing of the No.9 jersey was Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – and he left the club in 2004!
Since then the wearers read like a who’s who of total let-downs.
Since the Hasselbaink the occupiers of the No.9 jersey have been Mateja Kezman, Hernan Crespo, Khalid Boulahrouz, Steve Sidwell, Franco Di Santo, Fernando Torres and Radamel Falcao.
It’s little surprise many Chelsea fans think the shirt is cursed.
If Morata does take up the No.9 shirt Chelsea fans will be praying that he will be the man to bring an end to the curse. But until he starts banging in the goals they’ll fear he might have been doomed before he even started.
Chelsea’s cursed No.9 shirt
Mateja Kezman – Joined for £5.3m but managed to score just four goals in his one season at the club.
Hernan Crespo – Was a real scalp when Crespo arrived for £16.8m but he failed to live up to his billing. A return of 12 goals in 31 matches saw him loaned to AC Milan the following year. He returned to score 13 more goals over 42 games before being sold.
Khalid Boulahrouz – Why the Dutch defender was ever given the shirt was a mystery – aside from it happening to be free.
Steve Sidwell – Another non-striker then took up the jersey and after making 15 appearances vacated it again.
Franco Di Santo – The young Argentinean was handed the shirt which in retrospect was probably a mistake as it only put more pressure on him. He managed just eight league appearances and never scored for the Blues.
Fernando Torres – The club’s record signing (before Morata) was a total disaster. His £50m fee seemed to weigh heavily and over four years at the club never managed to score more than eight Premier League goals in a season. In total he scored 20 from 110 appearances.
Radamel Falcao – The most recent occupant was useless. During his season-long loan he scored one goal.
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