Just over a month remains until the summer transfer window closes and Chelsea are about to announce their first signing.
According to the Daily Mail, the Blues are set to complete the signing of former Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, who has agreed a two-year deal with the Champions League holders.
Furthermore, it is claimed that the 29-year-old is due to complete his medical and sign for the club in the next 48 hours.
Available as a free agent after leaving the Cottagers when his contract expired at the end of last month, Bettinelli will arrive to provide competition to Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga next season.
And once Bettinelli completes his free transfer, supporters will be looking forward to seeing the goalkeeper holding the Chelsea shirt at his unveiling – but what squad number could he take at Stamford Bridge?
Well, it would appear that Bettinelli has one favoured option.
Despite the 29-year-old not always being considered the first-choice keeper wherever he’s been throughout his career, that has seen him play for Fulham and Middlesbrough, he wore No.1 at both clubs.
At Chelsea, the incumbent No.1 is Kepa who appears to be staying in west London for at least another season despite falling behind Mendy in the pecking order.
This means Bettinelli will miss out on his seemingly preferred shirt number after joining Chelsea, unless Kepa’s exit from Stamford Bridge is confirmed or he agrees to a change.
Alternatively, Bettinelli could take the No.13 shirt which is widely regarded as the perfect squad number for a backup goalkeeper.
That Chelsea shirt number became vacant earlier in the summer following the departure of Willy Caballero at the end of his contract.
It is usually a shirt number reserved for a goalkeeper with the Argentine inheriting it from Thibaut Courtois three years ago, although Michael Ballack and William Gallas have also worn no.13 for Chelsea in the Premier League era.
Bettinelli wore No.13 for the England U21’s during the 2014/15 season, but this could be the first time he has that particular shirt number permanently at senior level.
Do you want an exclusive pre-season Chelsea preview – both in your inbox and through your letterbox? Head over here to find out more and secure your copy!
Source by Football London