Long-time fans of this blog – those who preferred the earlier stuff, as opposed to all the rest of you Johnny Come Latelies – will recall that the first entry regarded a numerical switcheroo at Chelsea to allow Didier Drogba to take his favoured number 11 upon his return to the club.
Drogba has of course since departed and number 11 is now occupied by Juan Cuadrado, which would suit his position if he ever made it on to the pitch. That wasn’t the only example of musical chairs at the Blues last summer – when the signings of Filipe Luis and Kurt Zouma were announced, it was initially stated that left-back Luis would wear 5 and Zouma, a centre-back, would be 3.
Thankfully, sense prevailed but, a year on, it looks like sanity is losing the battle. With Luis departed after struggling to make an impact ahead of Cesar Azpilicueta – our favourite player from another club, so forgiven for wearing 28 – he left and Baba Rahman was signed as his replacement.
Obviously, the number 3 was free and seemingly the logical choice for left-back Rahman, but he was announced as being given 17 (with ‘Baba’ on the back rather than ‘Rahman’, in honour of his father, also Baba, but presumably also Rahman too). At Augsburg, from whom he joined Chelsea, the Ghanaian international wore 18 while at his previous club before that, Greuther Fürth, he was 12, so a deep desire for 17 doesn’t seem apparent.
If it were present, it’s clearly not strong enough to refuse to allow Pedro to wear it, as is now the case. Having worn 17 and then 7 at Barcelona, the Spanish attacker has some attachment to numbers featuring 7 and his installation there has meant Rahman having to switch. To 3? No, to 6, even though it had belonged to young centre-back Nathan Aké, who is on loan to Watford.
Why Rahman’s aversion to 3? We don’t know, but, if their pursuit of Everton’s John Stones finally bears fruit and he is given 3, it won’t sit well with us at all. But then, we’re probably naive to expect more from a club where the captain wears 26.