Arsenal have made a decision on Mesut Ozil’s vacant number 10 jersey.
An era is drawing to a close at Arsenal with Mesut Ozil departing north London six months early to join boyhood side Fenerbahce this January.
With his departure opening up room in the squad both spatially and financially, who could be brought in has been dominating the headlines. While no outcome is expected on that front until the end of the window, or even the summer, talk has emerged of who could assume his famous No. 10.
A shirt number worn by clubs legends Dennis Bergkamp and Charlie George in the past, among others, who will be bestowed the honour with the German leaving has become a hot topic.
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If it were to be handed to someone this month, positional fit Emile Smith Rowe would be among the options. However, not the wise ones, at that. In fact, giving the No. 10 to anyone this January would be an unwise call, not least when there are far more pressing issues at hand. Like, y’know, trying to get out of mid-table.
As per The Athletic, Arsenal are in no rush for any current player to apply for a change of squad number, not least because of the financial repercussions. Those thought to be in contention – at least Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette seem to think so – could be allowed to apply for a mid-season change if Arsenal submit an application to the Premier League.
In such instances, the club would would have to grant supporters who has previously purchased said player’s shirt chance to exchange their option for the new No. 10 variation for free. It’s an expense Arsenal would rather avoid in the current climate.
Niklas Bendtner famously changed his squad number from 26 to 52 before the start of the 2009/10 season, personally offering to cover the cost of any supporter who’d already bought a replica jersey.
With no player in the squad expected to have a mid-season change, it opens the door for the new creative midfielder the club are seeking to take on the responsibility. Arsenal are seeking numbers in that department to complement Smith Rowe, with whoever comes in finding themselves in a strong position to inherit No. 10.
Who are the options, though? And who should get the number?