Earlier this week, Arsenal posted a video where captain Per Mertesacker, Hector Bellerín and Rob Holding read out questions from fans and then answered them.
One of the posers was to do with shirt numbers, and we have transcribed the discussion that ensued.
RH: Are you happy with your jersey number? If not, what number would you like?
PM: I’m not happy.
HB: What number do you want?
PM: My number is 29.
RH: Granit’s [Xhaka] got that, ain’t he?
PM: When I came here, Chamakh had it and once you have the 4, you cannot go back. I took Fabregas’ number, so…
HB: Did you have 29 at Bremen?
PM: Yeah, Bremen and Hannover, everywhere 29 and when I came here it was occupied.
RH: You should have just said, “I’m Per, I want 29.”
HB: Number 2 is mine.
PM: It’s not occupied?!
HB: Well, it’s not occupied now, but it was at the beginning of the season.
PM: So what happens in the summer? We have no number 1, no number 2, no number 3, no number 5.
HB: I’ve already spoken to Vic [Akers, kitman], so he knows. [To Holding] What about you?
RH: 5. Everything, growing up, it was always 5, 5, 5. When coaches would sometimes put 6 at centre-half, I used to get a 6 and [shakes head], I’ll keep 5.
HB: Why 29, Per?
RH: What’s the significance?
PM: So when you’re a young player, you normally get 30-plus.
RH: 45! [his number for Bolton in 2015-16]
PM: The kit-manager at Hannover looked at my birthday and he saw 29-9…
RH: Oh, nice.
PM: …and he gave me the 29. It was dedicated to me.
RH: You’re only nine days after me? I’m the 20th [albeit 11 years later].
PM: That was special, I was a young player but he gave me under 30.
Watch the full video here: