Chelsea transfer news: Declan Rice could be attracted to ‘dream shirt number’ at Bridge | Soccer | sport
Declan Rice could receive his preferred shirt number of 41 if he joins Chelsea this summer. The West Ham vice-captain has been heavily linked with a move to his boyhood club as Thomas Tuchel looks to improve his midfield.
The England international enjoyed another successful season at the Hammers, helping the London club to the Europa League semi-finals and seventh place in the Premier League. The midfielder is currently contracted until 2024 but West Ham have the option to extend the deal for another year.
Any deal for the 23-year-old is therefore likely to be costly with a £150m price tag reportedly placed on the star by David Moyes. However, should Chelsea, fresh off Todd Boehly’s takeover, manage to complete the deal, Rice could wear his preferred strip number of 41 as it is currently vacant.
It’s rare for a footballer to be so enamored with a number so far from the traditional 11. However, it’s part of a growing trend among young English footballers, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold currently wears 66 while Phil Foden of Manchester City holds 47.
Rice was asked about his unusual number choice when asked by Gary Neville on The Overlap. He explained that it was due to a mixture of luck and superstition.
“It was just the number the kitman gave me at the academy,” he said. I went to Seattle on my first trip with the first team, I was just given 41 and it’s stuck with me ever since.
“To be honest with you, I had these conversations with my dad, no matter what happens in my career, I can stay with 41,” he continued. “I just think Rice 41 sounds good and obviously I grew up playing in it and I’m a little superstitious with things like that, if I change to a new number if it hinders my performance I don’t know! Sometimes I think of things like that.
Although there will be many other more important factors that will influence the Englishman’s decision whether or not to join Chelsea. However, he will be reassured by the fact that he can continue to satisfy his superstitious needs if he moves to the capital.