After two years away on assignment at Borussia Monchengladbach as part of Chelsea’s Loan Army, young defender Andreas Christensen is back with the Chelsea first-team and looking to stay for good. Ideally, the 21-year-old will be the next in the line of former loanees to be (re-)integrated into Chelsea, following Thibaut Courtois and Victor Moses, to be held up as the next shining example of the Blues’ much maligned player development process actually working as intended.
The are no guarantees of course, and while the assumption is that he will stay with the team and play a not-insignificant amount of minutes, he starts the season ostensibly as fifth choice for three positions behind the starting trio of Gary Cahill, David Luiz, and Cesar Azpilicueta and new arrival Antonio Rudiger.
The youngster’s performance against Bayern on Tuesday did not significantly change that pecking order either, though it did confirm that he’s set to be David Luiz’s understudy first and foremost. Starting as the central player in the back three, Christensen showed that he has plenty of room for improvement and plenty of need to develop an understanding with the rest of the defenders, but it was a start nonetheless for the youngster. Christensen played in the no.27 shirt, as he has all pre-season, and that choice has now been made official on the Chelsea website as well.
OFFICIAL: Andreas Christensen has been handed the #27 shirt - he will stay with the first team squad. pic.twitter.com/2GZLBJbabK— Thibauted (@Thibauted) July 26, 2017
Taking a number in the mid- to high-20s is a tradition among Chelsea defenders, and while it’s likely that no one will take John Terry’s old 26 ever again, Christensen’s 27 is as symbolic as it gets in that regard.
The last Chelsea player to make an appearance in the no.27 shirt was Nathan Ake back on the final day of the 2013-14 season. Before him, another promising defender from the Academy, Sam Hutchinson wore it for a season, while other occupants from the Roman Era include Mineiro, Jiri Jarosik, Ben Sahar, and Alexis Nicolas.
Hopefully things work out much better for Christensen than for any of those players at Chelsea.