In Willian’s latest interview he has revealed that Chelsea have offered him the no.10 shirt should he want it. The number was previously worn by Eden Hazard, but since his departure to Real Madrid, the number has been vacant.
“Now “she” is mine. The club (Chelsea) told me it is mine.”Willian speaking in his latest interview
There’s two reasons as to why Willian has been offered the shirt number and one is his loyalty to the club. The Brazilian has been at Chelsea since 2013 and in that time has won 2 Premier Leagues, 1 League Cup, 1 FA Cup and the Europa League. He’s played his part in all of those triumphs, something which the club value him highly for. He’s never pushed for a move away and has always stated that Chelsea is his club, even with interest from European giants Barcelona. The bids rejected by the club show how highly Willian is valued by the Chelsea board. Him getting the no.10 shirt could be seen as a thank you for his loyalty to Chelsea, with his contract set to run out in 2020, and a new deal not yet agreed. Many will feel he’s earned the shirt, after years in Hazard’s shadow.
Perhaps the stronger argument is that the club don’t want to just hand out the shirt number to Hudson-Odoi or Pulisic and want them to earn the right to wear it, something they feel Willian has done in his 6 seasons at Chelsea.
This could be Willian’s last season at the club, and I’d imagine he’d definitely be off the books by 2021, if he does in fact agree a new two year deal this summer. So, Willian signs off his Chelsea journey in the no.10 shirt, before handing it onto Hudson-Odoi or Pulisic for the new era of Chelsea as they emerge from the transfer ban.
This would also mean Willian vacates the no.22 shirt, a number worn by Christian Pulisic during his time at Borussia Dortmund. The pressure in the media for him to replace Hazard is already huge, so the no.10 as well could be placing too much pressure on a player adapting to a new league and who is still just 20 years old.
As much as many Chelsea fans including myself, feel that Willian shouldn’t be starting anymore, him getting the no.10 shirt, is perhaps the final part of his Chelsea journey and something that you could argue he’s earned.