The Blues have already played their first match of the pre-season, beating Club America 2-1 in Las Vegas.
However, neither Sterling or Koulibaly featured after their moves from Manchester City and Napoli.…CONTINUE READING
The England winger arrived for a fee of £50 million, deciding to depart the Etihad with one year left on his deal.
There has been much speculation about what numbers the pair would wear for Chelsea, with Sterling previously donning the number 7 at Man City, while Koulibaly wore 26 at Napoli.
With the 26 available at Chelsea, Koulibaly has been confirmed to be wearing this.
The defender will follow Chelsea legend John Terry, who wore the number during his 19-year career at Stamford Bridge.
There was some surprise among the Chelsea fan base, with Terry’s former number not being retired despite his service to the club.
Since his departure, nobody has taken the iconic 26 but Koulibaly will wear the shirt for pre-season, the same number that he wore at Napoli.
However, with N’Golo Kante wearing the number 7 for Chelsea, Sterling will wear a new number for him, taking the number 17.
Saul Niguez previously wore this during his season-long loan at the club last season, with Mateo Kovacic donning it before.
Sterling is following in the footsteps of the likes of Eden Hazard and Pedro to wear the number during their first seasons at the club, before their preferred digits became available.
Returning loanee Gallagher will wear the number 15, having already worn the number 38 against Club America.
Being handed a lower squad number could hint at Gallagher’s future at Stamford Bridge, with the midfielder previously admitting that he is here to stay.
With the numbers being confirmed as pre-season squad numbers, they are subject to change ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
Sterling’s choice to wear the number 17 could hint at his future number, however, as with Kante not on the pre-season tour, the number 7 shirt was available for him to take, at least while the Blues are in America.
Chelsea face Charlotte FC on Thursday as the trio could don their new numbers if selected by Thomas Tuchel
Ahead of our next match on the United States tour, we can confirm the pre-season shirt numbers for our two new signings and a change for another player.
Raheem Sterling has taken on the 17 shirt for these preparation games while Kalidou Koulibaly will wear 26.
Conor Gallagher, who wore 38 in our win over Club America at the weekend, has changed to number 15.
Please note, these pre-season numbers are not confirmed for the season ahead.
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