Arsenal: First fixtures of 2021/22 Premier League season
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Arsenal are reportedly closing in on the £50million signing of Brighton & Hove Albion defender Ben White. The centre-back is set to be Mikel Arteta’s first signing of the summer transfer window as he looks to continue his rebuild as manager.
White’s Arsenal arrival would make him the fourth most expensive centre-back in history after Harry Maguire, Matthijs de Ligt and Aymeric Laporte.
The 23-year-old’s ability and hefty price tag would undoubtedly see him slot straight into the Arsenal defence as a starting centre-back.
However, he may have difficulty finding a prominent shirt number to match his role in the squad next season.
White’s last three numbers – three, five and six – will all likely be occupied when he arrives at Arsenal, so there are questions over what he will opt for.
Express Sport looks at the three most likely shirt numbers for White if he completes his mega-money move to north London.
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The number four shirt is probably the most illustrious available to White this summer, despite it technically being occupied by William Saliba.
After his loan stint at Nice, Saliba is expected to leave the Emirates Stadium, or at least not play a key role in Arteta’s plans next season.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising to see White inherit his number, previously worn by Lee Dixon, Tony Adams and Patrick Viera.
Four could very well be the most likely option for White if he does join the Gunners this summer.
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The number five shirt is available after Sokratis left Arsenal in 2020, but Thomas Partey is expected to wear it next season.
15 is the next best alternative, despite similarly to Saliba, previously being assigned to West Bromwich Albion loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
The Academy graduate isn’t expected to play a big role in Arteta’s plans, and therefore could undergo a change in shirt number.
Ray Parlour famously sported the number 15 shirt from 1993 to 2004, and it was also worn by one of the Premier League’s most decorated centre-halves, Nemanja Vidic.
Before taking the number three shirt at Brighton, White wore number 28, which is available at Arsenal.
Joe Willock wore it before completing a loan switch to Newcastle United, but the young midfielder could be in for an upgrade to reward his stunning form on Tyneside.
28 is an illustrious number, at Arsenal or most places, with Kolo Toure, Kieran Gibbs and Joel Campbell among recent wearers.
It may mean something to White, though, which could lead to him to take up the number once his Arsenal move is confirmed.
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