Chelsea have announced their latest squad numbers for the upcoming season, and have made their immediate transfer plans very clear in the process by leaving three first team players off the squad list.
The Blues have made a raft of signings already this summer, and could be forced into making yet more following the news that new addition Christopher Nkunku will spend the next 4 months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
That, combined with a major clearout which has seen the likes of Kai Havertz, Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount, Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Christian Pulisic and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all leave already this summer, has led to a massive change in the squad numbers available to players still at the club.
Raheem Sterling has taken the no.7 shirt left vacant by N’Golo Kante, while Enzo Fernandez has switched to no.8 and Benoit Badiashile to no.5.
However, more was made of who wasn’t there. Specifically, none of Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi or Romelu Lukaku have been given a shirt number ahead of the upcoming campaign despite all three still technically being at the club.
Lukaku has made his stance on departure very clear, but whether the Belgian will depart remains unclear with Inter Milan having cooled their interest and Juventus only willing to discuss a swap deal for Dusan Vlahovic plus cash, something Chelsea are yet to entertain.
Meanwhile, Hudson-Odoi was subject to interest from Fulham but that too appears to have cooled, though the winger is also on the radar of Nottingham Forest and is expected to be sold for around £8m this summer.
Ziyech remains in limbo after failing a medical at Al-Nassr earlier in the summer, but the former Ajax man is also expected to depart before September’s deadline day.
Chelsea kick off their Premier League campaign with a home game against Liverpool on Sunday, before games against relegation candidates West Ham United and Luton Town.