Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz could be set for a straight shootout for the Chelsea No 10 shirt next season, if it hasn’t already been decided. While the German has not arrived on English shores as of yet, he is set to become the club’s record signing and will therefore be of immense value to Frank Lampard and his Chelsea project.
A deal worth an initial £72million – rising to £90m with add-ons – has been agreed with Bayer Leverkusen for the attacking midfielder.
He is currently away on international duty with Germany but is set to finalise his move following the two Nations League matches with Spain and Switzerland.
Once the move is finally over the line, Havertz will be tasked with deciding on a shirt number ahead of his new chapter.
Things are a little complicated though, given that there are not many classic attacking options available to hand.
For last Saturday’s friendly with Brighton, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech were supposedly handed their new shirt numbers.
Werner wore the No 11 shirt he sported at RB Leipzig. Ziyech also wore the No 22 during his time at Ajax, so the choices came as no surprise.
The No 22 was worn by Pulisic last season meaning he is set to change numbers for the upcoming campaign.
Chelsea are yet to confirm his new squad number though but it would be fair to assume he will be handed the No 10 shirt following his promising end to the season.
Willian vacated the jersey upon the expiry of his contract, before he moved to rivals Arsenal on a three-year deal.
That would leave Havertz short of options although further vacancies are expected in the transfer window.
The No 14 shirt may become available should AC Milan secure a permanent deal for Tiemoue Bakayoko.
Kenedy’s No 16 shirt is also expected to be up for grabs. The same can also be said about Davide Zappacosta’s former No 21 shirt while Michy Batshuayi’s No 23 may also be an option.
Havertz currently wears the No 29 shirt at Leverkusen but Fikayo Tomori already has his hands on that for the Blues.
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Ultimately, he will simply want to get the deal completed before he even considers his next shirt number, following months of negotiations.
Meanwhile, Pulisic could be set to follow in the footsteps of Eden Hazard, if he wears the famous No 10 shirt.
The United States international has already drawn comparisons to the Real Madrid star due to his low centre of gravity and dribbling ability.
But he insists he wants to be his own player though, despite the huge compliment.
“He was an incredible player for Chelsea, he is a world class player and I’m not trying to compare myself to him,” Pulisic told Sky Sports last season.
“I’m trying to be my own player and I hope the fans like that guy.”