Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the next player who will try with his performances to break the curse of the number 9 shirt in Chelsea. The Gabonese striker landed at Stamford Bridge for £10m, with left-back Marcos Alonso joining Barcelona in the deal.
Aubameyang will wear the number 9 shirt in his new team, and there are rumors in Chelsea that he is drawing some sort of a crack at it. The forward wore this number for the Gabon national team, where he scored 30 goals in 72 games.
Ahead of the start of the new Premier League season, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has revealed that no one in the squad wants to take the No.9 shirt. One of the reasons is the curse the club is talking about that hangs over that number. It dates back to 1999.
In 1999, Chris Sutton from Blackburn Rovers joined the “blues”. The transfer was made for a whopping 10 million pounds at the time. With the No.9 on his back, Sutton scored just one goal in 39 games, leading to his sale to Celtic the following summer.
Second on the list is Serbian forward Mateja Kežman. He arrived from PSV Eindhoven in 2004 to replace the departed Jimmy Floyd Hasselbank. Kejman did not enjoy the same achievements and after 25 matches and 4 goals he left Chelsea to join Atlético Madrid.
In 2005, the number 9 jersey was given to Khalid Bularuz. Although he is a defender and is not expected to score goals, the Dutchman nicknamed “Cannibal” failed to establish himself in Chelsea and in 2007 he left the team after only 20 games played.
In the 2007/2008 season, number 9 at Chelsea is Steve Sidwell. He was brought in by Jose Mourinho from Reading. Sidwell scored one goal in 25 games for Chelsea and left at the end of the season.
For the next campaign, the cursed jersey was given to Franco di Santo. The Argentine played just 16 games for Chelsea, most of them coming from the bench. Di Santo never managed to sign for Chelsea, so he was sold to Wigan the following summer.
From 2011 to 2015, #9 in Chelsea is the famous Spanish striker Fernando Torres, who moved from Liverpool for 50 million pounds. He scored 81 goals in 142 appearances for the Merseysiders, but was far from his best at his new team. “El Niño” scored 45 goals in 172 games for Chelsea.
Following Torres’ departure, Chelsea signed Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, who played at Manchester United the previous campaign, on a season-long loan. He scored one goal in 12 appearances for Chelsea.
Season 2017/2018 the shirt with the cursed number was handed to another Spanish striker – Alvaro Morata. He arrived at Stamford Bridge for £60m, and the more money spent on a player, the higher the expectations for him. However, Morata did not live up to them, scoring 15 goals in 48 appearances for the Blues.
The following season Chelsea’s #9 was Gonzalo Higuain, who arrived at Stamford Bridge on loan from Juventus. The Argentine played only 18 matches, in which he scored 5 times.
This leads to the last example – Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian was sold to Chelsea from Inter for a whopping £97.5m. Lukaku, however, was unable to cope at the level he showed at Inter. For the past season in the Premier League, he played 26 matches in which he created 24 goal chances. In the end, he finished with 15 accurate shots for the entire season, 8 of which he managed to convert. Lukaku has returned to Inter, where he will play on loan from Chelsea in the 2022/2023 season.
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