The shirt number that Romelu Lukaku will wear for Chelsea during the 2021/22 season has been revealed.
After weeks of speculation, the Blues finally confirmed the arrival of Lukaku - who previously had a spell at the club as a youngster - on Thursday evening.
The Belgian arrives at Stamford Bridge off the back of a pair of terrific campaigns for Inter. Over the past two seasons he has hit 47 Serie A goals, helping the Nerazzurri win the Scudetto last term.
Chelsea have splashed out a club-record fee of £97.5m for the striker, who had publicly stated he had no desire to leave Inter. However, as 90min reported on Thursday, Lukaku was left devastated by Antonio Conte’s decision to resign and this, combined with the club’s financial problems, were the driving forces in the move.
Although he will not be available in time for their Premier League opener against Crystal Palace on Saturday, attention will now turn to which squad number the club’s new arrival will be handed. Lukaku has not been fussy about his number in the past, wearing 17 and 10 during his time at Everton before switching to a more traditional nine in each of his past four seasons.
Unfortunately, all three of those numbers are taken with Tammy Abraham wearing nine, Christian Pulisic 10 and Mateo Kovacic 17.
Due to this Lukaku has been forced to take number 18 for the upcoming season. The news comes via the Premier League website, who ‘leaked’ the forward’s choice before Chelsea officially announced it.
Next season there could be scope for Lukaku to switch to number nine, though, with Abraham expected to depart this summer. A host of Premier League and European clubs have been linked with the centre-forward with Roma and Atalanta battling it out for his signature recently.
It has been reported that the former have agreed a fee with Chelsea but are yet to successfully negotiate personal terms.