Thomas Tuchel backs brave Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to break Chelsea no.9 curse
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has backed new signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to break the number nine curse at the club after confirming his squad number for the season.
The 33-year-old completed his permanent move from Barcelona, arriving on deadline day as Chelsea got their man.
Scoring 79 goals under Tuchel during their time together at Borussia Dortmund, Aubameyang will be hoping to revive their relationship with impressive on the field performances during his time at Stamford Bridge.
The former Arsenal captain will face a spell on the sidelines with a jaw injury before participating in Chelsea training and looking to fight his way into the Blues line-up.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang posing at Cobham after Blues arrival. (Chelsea FC)
It has since been confirmed that Aubameyang will wear the vacant number nine jersey at Chelsea, which was previously donned by Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian has rejoined Inter Milan on a season-long loan and this could become permanent next summer, with Aubameyang taking his number for the minimum two years that he is at Chelsea.
Previous players to wear the number for the Blues are Tammy Abraham, Gozalo Higuain, Alvaro Morata, Radamel Falcao and Fernando Torres.
The number has been labelled as ‘cursed’ by Chelsea fans in recent years, despite an impressive return from Abraham in the number.
Speaking earlier in pre-season, Tuchel discussed the number as he said: “It’s cursed, it’s cursed, people tell me it’s cursed.
“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 number nine when players sometimes want to change numbers. Surprisingly, nobody wants to touch it.
“Everybody who is here longer than me tells me, ‘ah, you know, he had the nine and he did not score and he had the nine and did also not score’. “So we now we have a moment where nobody wants to touch the number nine.”
However, Aubameyang has since arrived and claimed the number as his own, with Tuchel believing that he can break this ‘curse’.
Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s clash against West Ham, the German admitted: “We hope (he can be a success with the number).
It’s now on us to prove it and me to find a position and create enough support for him and on him to finish our attacks and be strong, be on the pitch. I’m not sure if he took the number 9, I am not aware at the moment.
“If he did I think he is not afraid of the past and what the number means.
“He is ready to write his own history. If he is brave enough to take the 9, he takes the 9.”