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Five of the worst players to wear the number 9 shirt for Chelsea

Academy graduate Tammy Abraham has been handed the number nine shirt at Chelsea this season, with new manager Frank Lampard having placed his trust in the 21-year-old to deliver at Stamford Bridge.

The shirt often has a big responsibility at the majority of Premier League clubs, though history tells us that Chelsea’s number nines have been a mixed bag of hits and misses.

Here are five of the worst players to wear the number nine shirt for Chelsea


Chris Sutton

A proven Premier League goalscorer at Blackburn, Sutton had helped fire the Lancashire side to the title alongside Alan Shearer in 1995 and later won the Premier League’s Golden Boot in 1997/98.

Following Blackburn’s relegation a year later, Sutton moved to Stamford Bridge in a £10m deal, though the move proved to be disastrous.

Sutton struggled to rediscover his previous form or live up to his price tag, scoring just one league goal in his sole season at the club.

His unhappy spell culminated in him being left out of the squad for that season’s FA Cup final win over Aston Villa, before being sold to Celtic for £6m after just one season.

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Mateja Kezman

Another Chelsea number nine who would last just one season at the club, Serbian forward Kezman arrived with a burgeoning reputation after scoring prolifically in the Eredivisie for PSV Eindhoven.

Having scored 105 goals in 122 league appearances for the Dutch side, Kezman joined alongside teammate Arjen Robben in 2004.

Whilst Robben would go on to flourish at Stamford Bridge, Kezman failed to adjust to the demands of English football and scored just four league goals in 25 appearances.

With the likes of Didier Drogba and Eidur Gudjohnsen often preferred, Kezman left for Atletico Madrid the following summer.

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Khalid Boulahrouz

Defenders wearing the number nine, it’s just plain wrong.

A bizarre shirt number assignment, Chelsea memorably gave fringe defender Khalid Boulahrouz the number nine shirt during the Dutchman’s spell at the club between 2006 and 2008.

Signed from Hamburg and comfortable playing across the back four, the Netherlands international was an unorthodox occupant of the number nine shirt and never really established himself at the club.

Boulahrouz would make just 13 league appearances in his first season at Chelsea, followed by a loan spell at Sevilla before returning to Germany.

He is one of three Chelsea number nines not to have scored a league goal for the club.

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Steve Sidwell

Another truly strange number nine for Chelsea, many were surprised when the club signed the Reading midfielder in 2007.

Sidwell had impressed during the newly-promoted side’s debut season in the Premier League, though eyebrows were raised when he made the switch to Stamford Bridge.

Eyebrows were further raised when he inherited the number nine shirt from Boulahrouz, with Chelsea seemingly using a raffle to pick their shirt numbers at this stage.

Facing competition from the likes of Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and Michael Essien, Sidwell barely featured for the club, making just 15 goalless league appearances before leaving for Aston Villa a year later.

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Franco Di Santo

Boulahrouz-Sidwell-Di Santo. Three successive Chelsea number nines, all of who failed to score a single league goal for the club.

It really is quite a remarkable record for such an iconic shirt, though Di Santo was once regarded as a bright prospect at Stamford Bridge. He was handed the number nine shirt following Sidwell’s departure, with hopes high he could make an impact at the club during the 2008/09 season.

That impact, however, was minimal. The Argentine forward would make just eight substitute appearances in the Premier League, failing to score in any of them.

Having failed to impress he would join Blackburn on loan the following summer, before joining Wigan Athletic permanently for just £2m in 2010.

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