After much waiting and anticipating and social media sleuthing, Tiemoué Bakayoko is finally a Chelsea player. Medical, announcement, signing all done and confirmed and official today. Hurray!
What’s next? Squad number.
According to Chelsea’s official announcement, Bakayoko will be wearing shirt no.14, which is the same number he had worn at AS Monaco. That’s a rather odd number for a central midfielder, but it has special significance for the 22-year-old as the number of the arrondissement (district) of Paris where he was born and where he grew up.
In quotes that I could not find anywhere else other than whatever ‘Sportskeeda’ may be, Bakayoko talks about the responsibility he feels representing his origins in such a public way.
“It’s a fair return for everything that it gave me. Going onto the field thinking about my neighbourhood gives me strength. It was there I created myself as an individual.”
“It’s rewarding! Wearing your shirt gives you responsibilities. Little kids look at you. You have an obligation to behave impeccably.”
-Tiemoué Bakayoko, source: ??? via Sportskeeda
The no.14 at Chelsea has slightly less meaningful history. It’s been worn by three different players in the last three seasons, all fairly young and two of whom have since been sold. Neither André Schürrle nor Bertrand Traoré are with Chelsea anymore while Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who had it last season, is currently on loan at Crystal Palace.
Prior to that, the shirt spent several years on the backs of Graeme Le Saux and Gérémi, while the likes of Claudio Pizarro and Craig Burley, among others, had it for the odd season as well.
Plenty of room to create history for Chelsea’s new no.14!