Thomas Tuchel has joked Chelsea’s players have not taken the vacant No 9 shirt as it is ‘cursed’.
Romelu Lukaku returned to Inter Milan on loan this summer, leaving the traditional striker’s shirt free for someone to take. Lukaku lasted just one season, scoring eight league goals in 26 appearances.
He was the latest in a number of players who donned the shirt and struggled at Chelsea, including Alvaro Morata, Gonzalo Higuain, Radamel Falcao and Mateja Kezman.
Fernando Torres, who scored important goals en route to winning the Champions League with Chelsea, struggled for fitness and form at times.
Tammy Abraham was the only unqualified success before his departure for Roma in summer 2021.
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And the German, when asked why no one took the number this summer after Lukaku’s exit, replied: “It’s cursed. People tell me it’s cursed.”
He added: “It’s not the case that we leave it open for reasons or for some players in the pipeline that naturally could come and take it.
“There was not a big demand for No 9, and sometimes players want to change numbers but surprisingly no one wants to touch it.
“Everyone who is here longer than me in the club tells me, ‘Ah you know, he had the No 9 and he did not score and he also had the No 9 and he did not score. Now we have a moment where no one wants to touch the No 9.’”
Chelsea kick off their season with a visit to Everton on Saturday.
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