Kai Havertz has opted for a surprising shirt number at Stamford Bridge | DeFodi Images/Getty Images
Chelsea forward Kai Havertz is believed to have asked to wear an unusual shirt number for the Blues this season, following completion of his £72m summer transfer from Bayer Leverkusen.
Chelsea added Havertz to their burgeoning forward line last week and the Germany international will be expected to make his debut alongside fellow new faces Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech when the club’s Premier League campaign begins on Monday night against Brighton.
Chelsea are yet to confirm shirt numbers for any of their new arrivals, which also includes defenders Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva. But despite operating as a number 10, Havertz is believed to want the same number 29 shirt he previously wore for Leverkusen, feeling an element of comfort and familiarity in the jersey.
Simon Johnson of The Athletic notes that Havertz asked for the shirt upon his arrival. It is already occupied by defender Fikayo Tomori, but the homegrown centre-back is said to have been happy to relinquish it – that was even before a prospective loan move to Everton became likely.
Havertz has worn 29 ever since he broke into the first-team squad at Leverkusen in 2016. He had previously been known to wear 17 and 10 at youth level for the club. At senior international level, meanwhile, he has had a variety of shirt numbers for Germany – 23, 20, 7 and 18.
The number also features in both Havertz’s Instagram and Twitter handles, so perhaps it should come as little surprise that he wants to continue with that figure on his back.
Havertz wore 29 for Bayer Leverkusen | INA FASSBENDER/Getty Images
Both Chelsea’s number 10 and 11 shirts are currently vacant following the departures of Willian and Pedro respectively and are likely to be filled by others.
Werner looks most probable to inherit 11 as it is the same number he had at RB Leipzig. Christian Pulisic could switch from 22 to 10, having worn the latter at Borussia Dortmund, in turn leaving 22 free for Ziyech, who wore those digits at Ajax.
The number six is a potential option for Thiago Silva, whose preferred number two is already occupied by Antonio Rudiger. Chilwell will only get his usual number three shirt if Marcos Alonso leaves the club or is willing to vacate it.
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