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Kalidou Koulibaly handed dream Chelsea jersey number for his debut as Raheem Sterling takes iconic No. 17

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Kalidou Koulibaly handed dream Chelsea jersey number for his debut as Raheem Sterling takes iconic No. 17
New Chelsea signings Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling have been handed their shirt numbers for the club’s pre-season tour.

Both players have flown to the US to join in the tour following their arrivals at Stamford Bridge last week. Koulibaly touched down in Las Vegas on Saturday following his £34million transfer from Napoli after signing a four-year contract with the Blues.

The 31-year-old defender was Chelsea’s second acquisition of the summer following their move for England forward Sterling from Manchester City. England international Sterling arrived from Premier League rivals Manchester City in a £45million move to kick off the Todd Boehly era.

And it seems both players are now ready to pull on the Chelsea blue for the first time and get involved in the pre-season tour of the US. Should they get any minutes during Chelsea’s upcoming friendlies, Senegal international Koulibaly will be wearing the number 26 shirt – the same one he had at previous club Napoli.

It means Koulibaly has been given his ‘dream’ shirt number – which comes with the added pressure of having previously been worn by Chelsea legend John Terry. The last player to sport the No. 26 was the former England international, but it appears Terry has already given his blessing for Koulibaly to wear the iconic number.

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Following the defender’s arrival at the club on Saturday, Terry tweeted: “@kkoulibaly26 Welcome to @chelseafc. Good Luck mate. 26,” accompanied with two blue heart emojis. Meanwhile Raheem Sterling will also wear the same number as a former Chelsea fans’ favourite, having been handed the No. 17 shirt previously worn by Eden Hazard.

Several players have been handed the number since Hazard departed for Real Madrid, however, including the likes of Pedro, Davide Zappacosta, Mateo Kovacic, and Saul Niguez. Conor Gallagher, who wore 38 in the 2-1 win over Club America on Sunday, has also been handed a new number for the rest of pre-season, and will now wear number 15.

The numbers are not confirmed for the season ahead and may yet be changed before the Premier League season kicks off against Everton on August 6. Following their 2-1 win over Club America on Sunday, the Blues are now gearing up to take on Charlotte FC at the 75,000-capacity Bank of America Stadium on Thursday.

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