10:30 PM BST
James OlleySenior Writer, ESPN FC
Chelsea brag Thomas Tuchel has revealed that "nobody wants to touch" the club's No. 9 garment amid fears it whitethorn beryllium cursed.
The fig is vacant aft Romelu Lukaku re-joined Inter Milan connected a season-long loan, fuelling speculation it was being near for a imaginable caller signing arsenic the nine continues to hunt for a guardant with Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Red Bull Salzburg's Benjamin Sesko nether consideration.
Lukaku's underwhelming run astatine Chelsea past word is conscionable the latest successful a bid of players to disappoint portion wearing No. 9 astatine Stamford Bridge.
Gonzalo Higuain, Alvaro Morata, Radamel Falcao and Fernando Torres each arrived astatine Stamford Bridge with lofty reputations lone to conflict to conscionable expectations -- and the nine person doubly spent a play without a No. 9 successful the past decennary (2014-15 and 2016-17).
Arguably Chelsea's past palmy incumbent was Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who won the Premier League's Golden Boot successful his archetypal play -- arriving successful 2000 arsenic a then-club grounds £15 cardinal signing from Atletico Madrid -- earlier cementing his popularity until leaving for Middlesbrough successful 2004.
Asked wherefore nary subordinate successful the squad had taken the accidental to prehend what is usually a highly coveted number, Tuchel said: "It's cursed! People archer maine it's cursed! It's not the lawsuit that we permission it unfastened for tactical reasons oregon for immoderate players successful the pipeline to travel successful and people instrumentality it.
"There was not a large request for the fig nine. Players sometimes privation to alteration numbers but amazingly cipher wants to interaction it.
"Like, everybody who is longer than maine successful the club, tells maine 'you cognize helium had the 9 and didn't people and helium had the 9 and helium besides did not score.' Now we person a moment, cipher wants to interaction the fig nine."
Chelsea person been frustrated successful their pursuit of a caller guardant portion they besides missed retired connected signing Raphinha, arsenic the erstwhile Leeds United winger chose to articulation Barcelona.
However, they person signed Raheem Sterling from Manchester City and with Kai Havertz acceptable to pb the onslaught successful Chelsea's Premier League opener astatine Everton connected Saturday, Tuchel said: "I'm mostly assured that we are capable to triumph games. We managed to people a batch of goals successful the strategy we play.
"The 3-4-3 successful general, similar sometimes arsenic a 5-2-3, the halfway of the enactment is simply a spot deep, the halfway and the spot of the enactment is simply a spot heavy with 3 defenders and 2 cardinal midfielders truthful from this possibly the work for the 3 attackers is simply a spot higher successful a 4-3-3 oregon a 4-2-3-1 due to the fact that they have, people from the halfway of the system, a spot much support.
"So we are relying heavy connected our wing-backs successful this strategy and inactive we deliberation it is simply a bully operation for the characteristics of our players. So fixed this, we should besides not get confused that we request the aforesaid of the players that would whitethorn beryllium imaginable successful a antithetic structure. The operation itself is ne'er the problem. From determination we go.
"We got caller prime successful with Raheem which helps america a lot. We get our wing-backs going, hopefully Reecey [Reece James] is acceptable for the season, Chilly [Ben Chilwell] volition get acceptable and hopefully Marc [Cucurella, a £63m signing from Brighton] volition articulation america truthful we person this enactment from the wings.
"Then we request to amended connected the interior positions, to beryllium fluid and objective and make a small spot much enactment from behind. Let's see.
"We can't committedness [the extremity of] the curse of the fig nine. I americium besides superstitious. I tin recognize wherefore players possibly don't interaction it and person different preferences. It is similar this. I deliberation Raheem volition assistance america a batch and it is our work to make much violative players wherever we person much players successful the box."