The Premier League is back. Although Chelsea doesn’t kick off its 2022/23 campaign until Saturday afternoon, the league will play its first meaningful match on Friday. This is an exciting thing, especially for the Blues’ supporters who have so much to look forward to following a nightmarish last six-or-so months. Chelsea has been caught up in all of the drama of a politically charged takeover, a new ownership group taking over and a long preseason tour. All of that is now behind us as there is just football left to be played.
The transfer window does not close for another four weeks, but the squad has been trimmed ahead of the trip to Goodison Park at the weekend. The number of players in Thomas Tuchel’s traveling team is down to the mid-20s and one can infer there are still a handful of changes to come. However, the Blues made their roster more official on Thursday evening when they released the official kit numbers for first team players ahead of the newest campaign’s kickoff.
Chelsea released its official squad numbers for the 2022/23 season
Fans spend weeks speculating about numbers for their favorite new players throughout the preseason; although we’ve known Kalidou Koulibaly’s number for a few days now. The club’s number release ahead of every upcoming Premier League campaign acts as an indicator of sorts. Tuchel—and every Blues boss before him—carries a bloated squad along with him during the preseason tour. These returning loanees, new signings and youth stars remain with the first team for a number of weeks before being designated for their newest assignments.
Here are all of the official changes made to the Chelsea first team roster, which includes any number changes, returning loanees and new additions:
- No. 17: Raheem Sterling
- No. 18: Armando Broja
- No. 23: Conor Gallagher
- No. 26: Kalidou Koulibaly
- No. 30: Carney Chukwuemeka
- No. 33: Emerson Palmieri
Right off the bat, there are some obvious takeaways. Broja’s spot on the list means that he is likely here to stay for at least the 2022/23 season, despite heavy interest from other European clubs. Neither is Gallagher. Chukwuemeka’s inclusion validates the claims that he will spend the season with the first team following his recent signing. Furthermore, Emerson retains the No. 33 shirt, which means there is a good chance he could stay in Tuchel’s plans for the year. All of that paints an interesting picture, but it’s the exclusions that make for a more intriguing storyline.
Ethan Ampadu, Ross Barkley, Michy Batshuayi, Levi Colwill, Billy Gilmour, Kenedy and Harvey Vale are all left without numbers following Thursday’s big reveal.
The biggest surprise among these individuals is undoubtedly Ampadu. The Welsh defender did enough in the eyes of many supporters to justify his place in Tuchel’s squad. His versatility would have been a big help in the event of any injuries, and he brings with him three years of top flight experience at such a young age. There have been rumblings that he could be sold recently, which certainly won’t sit well with fans after a fantastic preseason.
The other surprise is Levi Colwill. Rest assured though, the centerback isn’t being sold. He is on his way to Brighton on a season-long loan deal. He will go the other way as a part of Marc Cucurella’s transfer into Stamford Bridge. Gilmour and Vale, on the other hand, are facing uncertain futures. There have been few rumors regarding the young duo, but anything is on the table following minimal appearances for the Blues during preseason. Rounding out the bunch is Barkley, Batshuayi and Kenedy—all of whom should expect to be sold this summer.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Cucurella’s deal will become official imminently. The Spaniard wore the No. 3 for the Seagulls, which is one of the shirts that will presumably become open in the near future following rumors of Marcos Alonso’s move to Barcelona. Kepa Arrizabalaga’s No. 1, Timo Werner’s No. 11 and Hakim Ziyech’s No. 22 could also free up soon. Other numbers that are available include No. 2, No. 4, No. 9, No. 15 and No. 27.
Which player’s kit will you be grabbing from the Chelsea Megastore this season? Let us know your decision in the comments or on Twitter!