Gabriel Jesus is expected to take the number nine shirt if he joins Arsenal, while Fabio Vieira has chosen to wear 21 on his back, but what could Raphinha pick if the Gunners sign him this summer?
Mikel Arteta and Edu are reportedly big fans of the Leeds United winger, who is almost guaranteed to leave Elland Road in this window. The likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Barcelona have all been linked, but Arsenal are the ones who’ve made their move already.
The Gunners already have a bid rejected for Raphinha, but The Athletic claimed today that we’re set to go back in with a better offer. The report further says Arsenal are the favourites and that Raphinha is also open to a move to the Emirates Stadium. That’s exciting, isn’t it?
Five shirt numbers Raphinha could pick if Arsenal sign him
There aren’t many prominent squad numbers up for grabs at Arsenal after Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and, most recently, Eddie Nketiah picked up the iconic 7, 10 and 14 shirts respectively.
There are still a few options though for Raphinha if Arsenal sign him. Here are five of them:
The last Arsenal player to wear the number 12 was another Brazilian winger – Willian.
We’re sure that won’t fill you with a lot of confidence, but Olivier Giroud donned that shirt and scored over 100 goals for us, while club legend Thierry Henry had 12 on his back when he returned to Arsenal on loan from New York City in 2012.
Yes, 13 is considered unlucky by some, and it’s almost always been goalkeepers who’ve donned this shirt, but Raphinha is a courageous player, and he may well be brave enough to take this number.
Alexander Hleb, the late great David Rocastle, Kevin Campbell and Alan Smith have all had this number on the back of their Arsenal shirts in the past.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is actually the owner of the number 15 shirt at Arsenal, but the Englishman, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Roma, is expected to be sold this summer.
The two most popular Arsenal players of the past to have donned this shirt are Cesc Fabregas in the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons and Ray Parlour between 1995 and 2004.
This is the one shirt number on our list that’s currently unavailable as our record-signing Nicolas Pepe is the proud owner. However, the Ivorian is very likely to leave the club after three underwhelming years at the Emirates.
Raphinha, a tricky left-footed right-winger like Pepe, could well take this number and reach the heights that Arsenal fans really thought the former Lille man would when we signed him in 2019.
It’s not often that a big-money signing at a Premier League club comes in and picks a number as far down as 35, especially if they’re an attacker.
However, the last Arsenal player to wear this shirt – Gabriel Martinelli – quickly became a fan favourite. The youngster scored 10 goals and provided four assists in his spectacular debut campaign and is now one of our most-loved players.
Raphinha could well follow the footsteps of his compatriot by choosing the number 35 if he joins Arsenal in the coming weeks.