Lost a bit amid the shuffle yesterday, Chelsea have already confirmed the squad number for new big-money signing Mykhailo Mudryk, with the 22-year-old taking up the vacant No.15 shirt.
That’s not exactly an iconic number for us (yet), though it does have its place in club lore, having been worn most memorably by Florent Malouda (229 appearances, 45 goals) and Mario Melchiot (165 appearances), and, relatively briefly, by Didier Drogba as well (before switching to No.11). More recently, it was Kurt Zouma’s shirt and before then it belonged briefly (sadly) to Kevin De Bruyne, not to mention it bearing witness to the legend of Papy Djilobodji and the one perfect minute of his one lone appearance.
Obviously, yesterday’s game was a bit too soon for Mudryk, who had worn No.10, No.20, and No.91 at Shakhtar, but he should be ready to make his debut next weekend as we travel north to take out Liverpool for Saturday lunch. The official website confirm this “hope” as well.
Mudryk is our fourth major signing this month already, joining Benoît Badiashile (No.4), João Félix (No.11), and David Datro Fofana (No.27) — though that latter may yet head out on loan.
One potential wrinkle in this situation is Champions League registration, where we now have 18 non-homegrown players in the squad even assuming that D.Fofana leaves — Arrizabalaga, Mendy, Badiashile, Silva, Koulibaly, W.Fofana, Azpilicueta, Cucurella, Jorginho, Kanté, Kovačić, Zakaria, Pulisic, Félix, Mudryk, Ziyech, Aubameyang, Havertz — and we can only register 17. This isn’t a problem in the Premier League where Badiashile (and D.Fofana, too) qualify as under-21 and thus don’t take up a squad spot (see also: Gabriel Slonina).