Arsenal’s transformation into Borussia Dortmund 2015/16 is underway.
Henrikh Mkhitarayan has escaped the shackles of Jose Mourinho’s hate dungeon while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to be #announced any day now.
So what squad numbers will they wear at Arsenal?
The most prestigious shirts available are No14 (recently vacated by Theo Walcott) and No7 (recently vacated by an anonymous Chilean).
And the Gunners have confirmed that Mkhitaryan will wear No7.
But there’s a twist.
UEFA don’t allow a number to be worn by more than one player in a season.
So, because he who shall not be named wore No7 in the Europa League group stages, Mkhitaryan will presumably have to wear a different number in the knockout stages.
The Armenian midfielder has worn No22 at four of his previous clubs but his preferred number is currently occupied by Jeff Reine-Adelaide.
Arsenal are yet to confirm what number Mkhitaryan will wear in Europe but given UEFA’s ruling, the only numbers available are No36 and above (minus No40, No61 and No69 who are occupied by Cohen Bramall, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock respectively).
Either that or he could take the No3 shirt — which would be a crime against football in our eyes.
This decision leaves the door wide open for Aubameyang to continue the Gunners’ tradition of having a speed merchant wear No14.
Thierry Henry made the number famous in north London and Walcott was honoured to inherit it in the 2008/09 season.
The Gabonese forward wore No7 during his breakout years with Saint-Etienne and has been Borussia Dortmund No17 for five seasons.
But it appears the lure of Arsenal’s prestigious No14 shirt is too much of a temptation to resist.
Most players would be content with No7 but if Mkhitaryan is particularly keen on the No22 he could well change at the end of the season, pulling rank over young Reine-Adelaide.
Such a move could work in Arsenal’s favour regarding Mesut Ozil’s situation.
If rumours are to be believed the German playmaker may yet sign a new contract.
He’s made no secret of his desire to wear No10 so perhaps he could take that off Wilshere with the English midfielder shifting to No7 if Mkhitaryan does fancy a swap in the summer.
The No7 shirt was previously worn by legendary Arsenal midfielder Liam Brady, who has always been one of Wilshere’s most vocal supporters.
Granted we’re getting ahead of ourselves but it’s a possibility.