Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is clearly backing himself to be Chelsea striking saviour after claiming the club’s tainted No.9 shirt.
The forward has moved to Stamford Bridge in a deadline day deal after leaving Barcelona just eight months after arriving from Premier League rivals Arsenal.
For the Blues, there’s been a long-running focus on finding a striker who can provide the goals and leadership needed to take the team to the next level, something that has resulted in an unwanted club curse.
The supposed curse stretches back to the days of Fernando Torres, while Radamel Falcao, Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain also faltered wearing Chelsea’s No.9. Not even Steve Sidwell and Khalid Boulahrouz could lift the curse.
Most recently, Morata managed 24 goals in 72 appearances for the club, while Lukaku scored just 15 goals in 59 matches for the Blues. Each player has tried and failed to make the No.9 shirt their own, leading to head coach Thomas Tuchel acknowledging the ‘curse’ earlier this summer.
Speaking at the start of August, Tuchel said, “It’s cursed, it’s cursed, people tell me it’s cursed.
Lukaku had a proven track record in the Premier League but things just didn’t click for the Belgian attacker
“It’s not the case that we leave it open for tactical reasons, for some players in the pipeline that come in and naturally take it. There was not a big demand for No.9. Players sometimes want to change numbers but, surprisingly, nobody wants to touch it.
“Everybody who is longer than me in the club tells me: ‘Ah, you know, like he had the No. 9 and he did not score and he had the No.9 and did also not score.’ So we now we have a moment where nobody wants to touch the No.9.”
He added: “We come from this curse of No.9; I’m also superstitious, I can understand why players maybe don’t touch it and have other preferences.”
One thing that Aubameyang doesn’t lack is self-confidence, and it is exactly that which could serve him well at Stamford Bridge.
Described by Todd Boehly as being ‘elite’, the new Chelsea owner will be hoping that the 33-year-old’s proven track record of 92 goals in 163 appearances for the Gunners will show that he has enough to be the missing piece of the Chelsea jigsaw.
- A TalkSport report