Swansea City made a couple of additions on Deadline Day yesterday.
Young Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches joined on a season-long loan from Bayern Munich and initially the Swans announced that he would wear number 85, as he had done at Benfica.
However, just like when Patrick M’Boma sought to wear 70 after joining Sunderland in 2001-02, the Premier League stepped in to show some sense and leadership.
The #PL rule that squad numbers must be consecutive and close to the current highest number. We're still going ahead with the transfer! 😁
— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 31, 2017
The rule they mention is from Section M of the Premier League handbook – though, while it has been enforced on this occasion, we can think of numerous occasions where it has been flouted.
As well as Sanches, though, Swansea also made an attacking addition, or re-addition, since it was the return of Wilfried Bony to the club after a spell at Manchester City which went pretty much exactly as everyone expected it would.
In his previous spell at Swansea, Bony wore 10 and then had 14 at Manchester City while a loan spell at Stoke City saw him wear 12.
The number 9 is free due to Fernando Llorente joining Tottenham, as is 19, a common striker’s number, yet the Ivorian has instead opted to wear number 2.
“It’s a special number for me,” he told Swansea’s official website. “It’s the second time I am at the club, hence I wanted to wear number two, and I want to achieve more for the team.”
We looked at midfielders who have worn 2 or 3 in the past, but sadly there have been strikers who have done it too. Bony’s rhyming partner Arouna Kone had it at Wigan but then wore 9 at Everton, while 3 has been worn by Mohamed Kallon at Inter, Nicklas Bendtner at Wolfsburg, Asamoah Gyan most places he has been and Jordan Ayew at Swansea last season.
The Ghanaian had switched to 18 for this season, but that move, and the rejection of 85 for Sanches, opened up space in their trolling budget. It has been well and truly filled now.