Arsenal shirt numbers: Mesut Özil takes Jack Wilshere’s No 10 as Calum Chambers signs new contract

Özil has wasted little time in claiming the vacant shirt number after Wilshere left his childhood club last month

Jack de Menezes@JackdeMenezes
Tuesday 03 July 2018 15:07
Arsenal shows off new home kit

Jack Wilshere is yet to find himself a new home, but his Arsenal shirt has already been snapped up after club unveiled Mesut Ozil as their new No 10.

Özil has worn the No 11 shirt since arriving at Arsenal in 2013, but has long preferred the No 10 jersey and wore that number during Germany’s ill-fated World Cup campaign that saw them finish bottom of Group F and suffer their earliest exit in their history.

“It has never been a secret how special this number is to me,” Özil said. “My childhood idol Zinedine Zidane wore this number and it is still the most characteristic one for the playmaker position. I'm looking forward to putting it on for the first time at Arsenal after the summer break!”

The attacking midfielder replaces his former teammate Wilshere, who is currently a free agent having been released by Arsenal following a frank and honest conversation with new manager Unai Emery. After being left in no doubt that he faced being a bit-part player under Arsene Wenger’s replacement, Wilshere turned down a contract extension to seek pastures new, though he yet to find his next home.

The out-of-favour England midfielder took the No 10 shirt back in 2012 following former captain Robin van Persie’s exit, but after 17 years with the club, he left last month and is currently in talks over his next move.

West Ham have been strongly linked with a move for Wilshere, although any agreement is likely to depend on the length of contract with the Hammers currently reluctant to be locked into a long-term deal.

Jack Wilshere relinquished the No 10 shirt by leaving Arsenal last month

With Özil changing shirt number for the new season long after the latest kit went on sale, Arsenal have also announced that they will allow any fan who has purchased their jersey from the Arsenal club shop or their direct online service to swap it for a new No 10 version of the same size and same strip, be it home or away.

The change is the latest in a raft of number swaps among the Arsenal squad. Petr Cech has traded No 33 for the No 1 shirt, Hector Bellerin will wear No 2 instead of No 24, Mohamed Elneny taking the No 4 shirt vacated by Per Mertesacker and Granit Xhaka moving from the No 29 shirt to No 34 – a number that holds such a personal significance for him that he has it tattooed on his back and arm.

Ozil announced his new shirt number on Twitter

As well as the shirt changes, Arsenal also confirmed that defender Calum Chambers signed a contract extension with the club this week, with Emery stressing that he will be “part of my plans this season”.

Upon signing the long-term deal, Chambers said: "I'm really proud, really pleased and excited for this season and what lies ahead.

"It has obviously been different, it is not something we are used to at the club.

"It is an exciting time, when you see everything announced we as players were excited and we are all going to push ourselves to do as well as we can this season.

"I just think that the new manager will put his message towards us and tell us how he wants us to play.

"Everyone in the team knows their roles and responsibilities and takes ownership of themselves and the team. Everyone needs to be fully dedicated and put everything into this season."

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