We recently publishing a renumbering of Manchester United, and invited others to submit their own renumberings of their favourite teams.
We’ve had a number of squad number enthusiasts contact us, such as Stephen Kelly who will be restructuring Arsenal’s current squad number situation ahead of the 2017/18 season.
Here is Stephen’s new-look Arsenal for 2017/18.
Firstly, a few assumptions. Debuchy, Gibbs, Pérez, Wilshere, Chambers, Jenkinson and Campbell all look likely to leave before the end of the transfer window, so I’m assuming their numbers will be vacated. Not that that mattered for Perez’s #9 shirt anyway. I’m also not bothering with youth players or those out on loan – giving them permanent numbers is part of the reason silly numbers are becoming more commonplace. Anyway:
- Petr ČECH. Most obvious change. Currently #33, he’s the undisputed first choice goalkeeper, and #1 is completely vacant now that Wojciech Szczęsny has left permanently.
- Héctor BELLERÍN. Arsenal’s first choice right back for the past two years, and now competing with Oxlade-Chamberlain for the right wing-back spot. Of the two, he’s the more natural fit for #2.
- Nacho MONREAL. Gibbs is probably going, so #3 will be vacant. Depending on Wenger’s plans, this could just as easily go to new signing Sead Kolašinac. I’ve gone for Monreal based on experience.
- Per MERTESACKER. Retiring at the end of the season, no reason to change it now. Should really go to a midfielder (Coquelin or Xhaka?) afterwards.
- Shkodran MUSTAFI. Perhaps a little harsh on Gabriel, but he isn’t (and never has been) first choice. Silly to have Mustafi at #20 with a second choice player at #5. If Lucas can be moved from #9, Gabriel can make way for Mustafi.
- Laurent KOSCIELNY. Doing Tony Adams proud with #6. Long may he continue.
- Alexis SANCHEZ. He isn’t leaving. Shh. I can’t hear you. Shut up.
- Aaron RAMSEY. Sensible change last season, he suits #8 well.
- Alexandre LACAZETTE. Following in the footsteps of legends like… er… Francis Jeffers. And Park Chu Young. This will definitely go well.
- Mesut ÖZIL. He’s the definition of a number ten. Recently made the same switch for Germany, it makes sense for him to take it at Arsenal if Wilshere goes.
- Alex OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN. Nothing wrong with having him at #15, but if Wilshere goes and Özil takes #10, someone should have #11 and it should be a winger. Ox plays down the right mostly, but he can also play on the left and is the most logical choice. I considered Iwobi, but he’s not quite done enough to earn a 1-11 number yet. Yet being the important word.
- Olivier GIROUD. #9 would be the only appropriate thing to move him to, and Lacazette has that, so no reason to change.
- David OSPINA. Again, no reason to change. #13 is the perfect number for a second choice goalkeeper.
- Theo WALCOTT. I’d have preferred #14 be retired when Henry left, but what’s done is done.
- GABRIEL. If I’m going to demote him, I’ll at least keep it as close to #5 as possible.
- Rob HOLDING. Good number for a second choice centre half. No need to change.
- Alex IWOBI. Another sensible change from last year. I’ll keep it.
- Granit XHAKA. No, you can’t have #34. Or #29. Pick something sensible.
- Santi CAZORLA. Really deserves a number in the first XI, but he’s had #19 for five years now and there aren’t any free lower numbers that would suit him.
- Francis COQUELIN. Arsenal fans and regular readers of this blog will know that Coquelin has already had four squad numbers (35, 39, 22 & 34). None of them are ideal. He fell down the pecking order a bit last year, but if he re-establishes himself as first choice then he can take #4 when Mertesacker retires. For now, #20 is an improvement – especially as he plays best alongside Cazorla. Those two having consecutive numbers works well.
- Mohamed ELNENY. Well, at least it’s better than #35. There’s also something nice about keeping his number one higher than Coquelin’s.
- Sead KOLAŠINAC. The fact that a (possibly) first choice new signing was given #31 shows how badly the gunners need a tidy-up. #22 isn’t perfect, but it has history of being worn by Arsenal fullbacks – both Oleh Luzhny and Gaël Clichy had it previously.
- Danny WELBECK. No reason to change it. Especially not to #7. Seeing as that definitely won’t be vacated.
What are your thoughts on Stpehen’s proposed renumbering of Arsenal? Would you make any different changes?
Finally, if you’d be interested in renumbering your favourite team, get in touch with us and we’d be happy to put up a guest blog.