Chelsea: The first six fixtures of the 2021/22 Premier League
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Chelsea are hoping they’ll sign Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan this summer. Director Marina Granovskaia is currently working on a transfer deal for the Belgium international, believing he’d be a Stamford Bridge hit. So with noises regarding an agreement growing in volume, Express Sport will now take a look at potential shirt numbers the 28-year-old could wear if he returns to west London this summer.
This seems the obvious one.
Lukaku has worn No 9 throughout the majority of his career, sporting the number at Everton, Manchester United and Inter Milan.
And with Chelsea primed to offload Tammy Abraham, amid links to West Ham and Arsenal, it’s possible the Belgium international will take it on.
It has, however, been a curse for the Blues over the years.
Big signings such as Fernando Torres, Alvaro Morata and Mateja Kezman has failed to do it justice – so it’ll be interesting to see if Lukaku can buck the trend if he takes it on.
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Chelsea could soon have the No 8 shirt vacant, too.
Ross Barkley has returned from his loan spell at Aston Villa but the England international isn’t believed to be in Thomas Tuchel’s plans for the upcoming campaign.
And, given the No 8 was worn by Frank Lampard during his glittering spell at Stamford Bridge, Lukaku could be tempted to take it on.
It’s not a number normally sported by strikers.
But given Chelsea once handed out the No 9 shirt to a defender in Khalid Boulahrouz, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.
Chelsea could lose Kurt Zouma this summer.
The defender has been linked with a move to Sevilla and, with his contract starting to wind down, his number could soon be in need of an occupant.
And given Lukaku admires Didier Drogba, the Belgian may be tempted to take his childhood hero’s old jersey.
The pair were team-mates at Chelsea, with the Inter Milan striker since modelling his game on the Ivory Coast international.
And in order to show he’s the true heir to Drogba’s throne, taking the No 15 jersey would be one way of doing that.
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Chelsea recently offloaded Olivier Giroud, with the France international moving to AC Milan for a fee of £2million.
And if Lukaku heads back to Stamford Bridge, he could take the No 18 shirt as a result.
That was the number he donned during his first stint in the capital, where he failed to score from 15 appearances across all competitions.
Lukaku will be returning a completely different player, however.
And he may fancy sporting his old number to show just how much he’s evolved since his previous time at Stamford Bridge.
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Chelsea’s endorsement for Lukaku
Speaking at Euro 2020, Peter Crouch urged Chelsea to do all they can to bring Lukaku back to the club.
“Romelu Lukaku has to be a target for Premier League clubs, without a doubt,” he said.
“Look at the money you’d have to spend to get Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe or even Harry Kane. It would cost a lot less to get Lukaku, yet he’s a banker for Premier League goals.
“He gets better every season and I wouldn’t bet against him winning the Euros Golden Boot now. Belgium are a top side and he’s going to get more goals.
“The obvious English destination is Chelsea, though. He’d fit in there. They’ve got pace, which suits him, willing runners, and they’d have an abundance of ability around him.
“He’s been at Chelsea before and I think he’s got something to prove there. I could see him being a good fit under Thomas Tuchel.”
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