Romelu Lukaku may well be set to don the number 18 shirt with Chelsea after his squad number appears to have been ‘leaked’.
The Belgian completed a sensational return to Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening as he became Chelsea’s record signing.
Lukaku returns to west London, with the Blues having forked out a reported £98million for his signature and then having tied the striker down to a five-year deal, seven years after he originally departed for Everton.
Whilst fans were understandably in awe of the Belgian’s return, having just spearheaded Inter Milan to the Serie A crown in his final season at the San Siro, questions then turned to what number he would be wearing on the back of his shirt.
The Premier League themselves appear to have potenitally answered that question, though, with Chelsea’s official squad list indicating that Lukaku is now the Blues’ new number 18 – a number originally held by Olivier Giroud, who earlier this summer completed a move to AC Milan.
It is also a number strongly attributed to Lukaku, having selected 18 during his first spell as a Chelsea player having arrived from Anderlecht in 2011.
He will certainly hope the shirt – if that is the number he wears – brings him more fortune this time around at Stamford Bridge having failed to find the net in any of his 15 outings for the Blues in all competitions.
Since then, he has claimed numbers 20 and 17 during respective loan spells with West Bromwich Albion and Everton, whilst Lukaku was handed 10 after becoming a permanent Toffees signing.
He has since donned the No.9 at both Manchester United and Inter Milan ahead of his big-money return to Chelsea.
As it stands, Tammy Abraham is currently the owner of the No.9 shirt at Stamford Bridge, although with no official announcement of Lukaku’s number from Chelsea, it could suggest a swap is on the cards.
Abraham is strongly linked with an exit this summer and AS Roma and Arsenal have emerged as the most likely suitors.