Willian caused a stir this weekend with an interview in Brazil, wherein he claimed that Chelsea have offered him and he has in turn accepted the No.10 shirt, which became vacant with Eden Hazard’s transfer to Real Madrid. Many expected the famous number to land on the back of either Callum Hudson-Odoi or Christian Pulisic, but Willian looks to have won that race.
Like all new numbers (including Pulisic’s own No.24 or Mason Mount’s No.19), the new No.10 remains unconfirmed, with Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard revealing that all decision will be made and confirmed “in due course” — though probably before Willian’s return from the hamstring injury he suffered at the start of the month, in the Copa America semifinals. Lampard expects Willian back in early August though it’s unclear exactly when or how much time the new No.10 (probable) would have to get up to speed before the season kicks off on the 11th.
“There’s no confirmation of that [shirt number] decision, but it will be taken in due course. I didn’t see the interview but I did hear about it.”
“Hopefully his return to training date is early August. He needed a bit of a break as well and we’re controlling that and making sure he’s getting his rehab during that break. I’m hopeful he will come and train with us early August and he’ll get up to a level pretty quickly and be available for selection.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
New number or no new number, Willian has a chance to step into a starring role at Chelsea, to help fill the void left by Eden. He’s reached double-digit goals in three of the last four seasons, and that’s certainly useful production, much to the chagrin of all his naysayers.