Mateo Kovacic takes on iconic new Chelsea squad number
Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic has been handed a new jersey number for the 2021/22 campaign, it has been confirmed.
Thomas Tuchel’s men are of course set to get their domestic season underway tomorrow afternoon.
After making it two trophies in the space of less than three months courtesy of a penalty shootout downing of Villarreal in the European Super Cup on Wednesday, the Blues will now turn their attentions towards matters in the Premier League.
A derby meeting with Crystal Palace lies in store at Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea eye an improvement on a 4th-placed league finish last time out.
Palace, though, will prove no pushovers, with the Eagles having retooled in a major way this summer, replacing Roy Hodgson with former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira, before luring all of Marc Guehi, Joachim Andersen and Michael Olise to London, too.
With N’Golo Kante having picked up a fitness problem in midweek, and Jorginho still regathering full fitness following Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph, one of those expected to feature from the off for Chelsea on Saturday afternoon will of course be Mateo Kovacic.
The Croat is fresh off an impressive season last time out, which saw him feature in 27 of the Blues’ Premier League outings, excelling in an all-action role in the middle of the park.
And, as outlined above, ahead of the new season getting underway, on Friday, Kovacic has been rewarded for his fine form.
This comes in the form of a shirt number change, with the ex-Real Madrid man having been upgraded from 17 to no.8, of course made famous by Frank Lampard.
What this decision means for the future of Ross Barkley, Chelsea’s prior no.8, remains to be seen.
Mateo Kovacic has taken the number 8 squad number for #CFC this season. Take from that what you will regarding Ross Barkley’s future at the club, who was the previous occupier of the number eight shirt. pic.twitter.com/KXBwo063Da
— Sam Inkersole (@Sam_InkersoleTM) August 13, 2021
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