Pochettino Vows Next Chelsea Striker Will Wear ‘Cursed’ Number 9 Shirt Amid Lukaku Exit Talks

Pochettino Vows Next Chelsea Striker Will Wear ‘Cursed’ Number 9 Shirt Amid Lukaku Exit Talks

Elijah Odetokun
updated at August 25, 2023 at 8:29 AM
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  • Chelsea are preparing to host Luton Town at Stamford Bridge, hoping for their first win of the season
  • Head coach, Mauricio Pochettino spoke on the much-talked-about 'cursed' number 9 shirt
  • The shirt currently belongs to Romelu Lukaku, though he is unassigned as he is expected to leave

Mauricio Pochettino is taking steps to debunk the claims that Chelsea's number 9 shirt is cursed, as current players avoided it when new season numbers were allocated.

Pochettino took over at Chelsea after a disastrous 2022/23 season, which included having four managers and finishing 12th - the club's worst position in almost 30 years.

After masterminding an unbeaten pre-season culminating in winning the inaugural Premier League Summer Series, he has had a winless start to the new season and hopes that will change against newly-promoted Luton Town tonight.

Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea, West Ham, London Olympic Stadium.
Mauricio Pochettino lost his first game as Chelsea boss to West Ham. Photo by Sebastien Frej.
Source: Getty Images

Mykhailo Mudryk joined the injury list, with the Blues having nine first-team stars out, including captain Reece James, though Benoit Badiashile and Armando Broja are close to returning.

Pochettino speaks on number 9

There is a general feeling around Stamford Bridge that the club's number 9 shirt is cursed, having seen a host of big names fail in the shirt, including Romelu Lukaku, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Fernando Torres, and Alvaro Morata, amongst others.

The last player to be a hit for the club wearing the shirt was Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Academy star Tammy Abraham didn't do badly in it, with about 30 goals in two seasons before his departure.

Pochettino believes the shirt is not cursed and that the energy around it has to change He promised to look into it during his press conference ahead of Luton's game, as quoted by Evening Standard.

“For sure, if we bring in one strike more, now I‘m going to be sure that he uses the nine and try to change the feeling and the idea that this number is not cursed,” he said.
“We need to do some things to change the energy. I will ask the kit man to bring all the nine shirts, and we'll do some energetic thing to break it,” he jokingly added.

The shirt was last worn by Aubameyang, who left to join Olympique Marseille, and it currently belongs to Lukaku, though it is not assigned for the season as he is expected to leave.

Pochettino sends message to Lukaku

Sports Brief reported that Pochettino sent a message to Lukaku, who has been exiled from the first team as discussions continue over his departure.

The Argentine boss updated the press that he is yet to speak to the forward as things were agreed with the club before his arrival, but if things change between the two parties, he will be open to meeting the Belgian.

Clubs with cursed jersey numbers

Sports Brief previously analysed football clubs with cursed jersey numbers, including the Red Devils’ number 7, all of whom have combined for lesser success since Cristiano Ronaldo left.

Another famous cursed jersey in football is Chelsea’s number 9, a curse that does not look like it will end anytime soon. Barcelona’s number 7 is another one of those tabooed jerseys.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.
Stamford Bridge