Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea striker's situation suggests club's No. 9 shirt really is cursed

It's all going wrong for Romelu Lukaku at Chelsea...

Romelu Lukaku‘s current situation at Chelsea is cause for huge concern.

An interview by Sky Sport Italia with the Belgian striker, in which he wasn’t exactly complimentary about the club and instead praised former team Inter Milan, was released this week and it’s understandably caused uproar.

Fans are not happy and neither is Thomas Tuchel, with the ever-reliable David Ornstein reporting that the £98 million striker has been left out of the squad to face Liverpool on Sunday.

The Lukaku debacle at Stamford Bridge might just be conclusive proof that Chelsea’s No. 9 jersey really is cursed.

Ever since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s departure in 2004, most – if not all – of those who have donned the shirt have failed to live up to expectation.

Lukaku was expected to break the curse, but right now, he’s following the same path as the other Chelsea No. 9’s over the past 17 years…

GMS Giveaway


Mateja Kezman | 2004-2005

Fee: £5m

Chelsea appearances: 41

Chelsea goals: 7

The Serbian was prolific in the Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven, but looked like a fish out of water in the Premier League. Seven goals in 41 games really is a dismal return for a supposedly top-class striker.

Kezman with Chelsea

Hernan Crespo | 2005-2006

Fee: £16.8m

Chelsea appearances: 73

Chelsea goals: 25

Crespo’s record was far superior to that of Kezman, however, we never saw the very best of the Argentine at Chelsea. A goal every three games still isn’t good enough for a player revered as one of the greatest strikers of the modern era.

Crespo with Chelsea

Khalid Boulahrouz | 2006-2007

Fee: £8.5m

Chelsea appearances: 20

Chelsea goals: 0

We’re still baffled as to why Jose Mourinho handed Boulahrouz the prestigious Chelsea No. 9 shirt. Not only was the Dutchman a right-back, he was simply not good enough to play for a top Premier League club. A truly bizarre decision by the ‘Special One’.

Chelsea's signing of Boulahrouz

Steve Sidwell | 2007-2008

Fee: Free

Chelsea appearances: 25

Chelsea goals: 1

Like Boulahrouz, Sidwell wasn’t really good enough to be a first-team regular at Stamford Bridge, so why he was made No. 9 is anyone’s guess. It was no surprise to see him offloaded to Aston Villa after just one season.

Sidwell with Chelsea

Franco Di Santo | 2008-2009

Fee: £3.4m

Chelsea appearances: 16

Chelsea goals: 0

The only saving grace here is that at least Di Santo was a striker, although Sidwell at least managed to score a goal for Chelsea. The less said about the Argentine’s stint in west London, the better…

Di Santo with Chelsea

Fernando Torres | 2011-2014

Fee: £50m

Chelsea appearances: 172

Chelsea goals: 45

The most famous – and infamous – Chelsea No. 9 in the modern era. Torres joined the Blues from Liverpool in a £50 million January transfer and was a real disappointment. Sure, he won trophies, but the Spaniard was a pale shadow of the player who regularly lit up Anfield.

Torres with Chelsea

Radamel Falcao | 2015-2016

Fee: Loan

Chelsea appearances: 12

Chelsea goals: 1

Another great of the modern era who flopped at Chelsea. Mourinho took a gamble on the Colombian following his dismal spell at Manchester United and to say it backfired would be something of an understatement.

Falcao with Chelsea

Alvaro Morata | 2017-19

Fee: £70m

Chelsea appearances: 72

Chelsea goals: 24

Morata initially hit the ground running at Chelsea after joining from Real Madrid, but quickly fell victim to the club’s No. 9 curse. The goals dried up at a rapid pace and even a switch to No. 29 in his second season couldn’t stop the rot.

Morata with Chelsea

Gonzalo Higuain | 2019

Fee: Loan

Chelsea appearances: 18

Chelsea goals: 5

When Higuain arrived at Stamford Bridge to play under Maurizio Sarri, big things were expected. Sadly, the Argentine was arguably worse than those before him and Chelsea opted against extending his stay at the club as a result.

Higuain with Chelsea

TAMMY ABRAHAM | 2019-2021

Fee: Academy product

Chelsea appearances: 79

Chelsea goals: 30

Abraham is perhaps the only player on the list who performed relatively well in the No. 9 shirt. But he was still sold to AS Roma in the summer, which means we can’t exactly render his stint in the jersey as a ‘success’.

Abraham with Chelsea

Can Lukaku break the curse, or will the interview saga be the start of a decline that results in him being named alongside the likes of Torres, Morata and Falcao as a Chelsea flop?

The Ultimate Romelu Lukaku quiz: How well do you know the striker

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When was Romelu Lukaku born?

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