Oscar takes Frank Lampard's Chelsea number

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Chelsea have made a change to their squad numbers just a day before the Premier League season begins, with Oscar taking the No.8 shirt vacated by club icon Frank Lampard, and Didier Drogba moving back to his former No.11.

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Drogba goes from 15 to 11...again

Drogba had initially been given the No.15 on his return to Stamford Bridge, the number he had worn upon first arriving at Chelsea a decade ago, but now takes back the shirt he was most synonymous with during his first spell at the club.

The veteran striker’s final act of his first time with Chelsea was to score the decisive penalty in the Champions League victory over Bayern Munich; something that could have justifiably resulted in the retirement of his No.11.

But the shirt was quickly filled following the acquisition of Oscar from Internacional that same summer - quite a display of confidence from Chelsea, tasking the then 20-year-old with succeeding one of the club’s ultimate legends.

He will now have to do so again after Lampard’s departure, although it would appear it took some encouragement from Drogba before Oscar decided that he was indeed ready to replace the now Manchester City midfielder.

Mutual understanding

“I am very pleased to be able to return to the number 11 shirt and I am very grateful to Oscar for allowing me to make this change,” Drogba told the official Chelsea website.

Oscar added: “Didier is a Chelsea legend and a senior player. I am happy for him to take the 11 and for me to take the 8.

“Lamps is another legend at this club and I hope I will be as successful in the shirt as he was.”

Watch: The latest Chelsea transfer news

What about the fans?

This is something of a controversial move from Chelsea, of course, and fans to have bought shirts with these two players’ previous numbers will have a right to feel aggrieved, particularly given that the season is about to begin.

However, Chelsea were clearly prepared for a backlash and have a contingency plan in place to dispel any assertion that they are attempting to diddle supporters.

“Chelsea Football Club understands many supporters will already have purchased the new 2014/15 shirts with the old names and numbers on the back,” read a statement from the club.

“We will be offering anybody who has proof of purchase from an official club store a free exchange on non-matchdays, subject to availability, from today until 12 September inclusive.

“All returned shirts will be donated to the Chelsea Foundation, the club's charity organisation which uses the power of sport to bring about positive changes in people's lives and their communities.”

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Frank Lampard
Premier League
Didier Drogba

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