Mikel Arteta has said he is expecting big changes at Arsenal this summer.
Finishing eighth in the Premier League table and subsequent failure to qualify for Europe for the first time in 25 years is further proof that the Gunners must significantly strengthen before the start of next season.
And Arteta has already told Arsenal fans what to expect ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
“There are so many things to do because we already have a lot of players on loan, a lot of players with contracts still that we have to sort and it will depend what happens with a lot of those players,” the Gunners manager told reporters earlier in the month.
“And what we are able to recruit to improve the team is going to determine where we are. We have already had an incredible amount of changes throughout the club in the last year or so. More than ever.
“We are looking to be much closer than where we are at the moment. In order to do that there are certain things that we have to improve.
“Now it’s about how we evolve. There are a lot of things that had to be done and they have [been] done.
“A lot of changes [we had] to make and they have been made.
“And now it’s time to evolve and to evolve you have to take things once they are a little bit more settled and establish them to the next level.”
football.london understands that the Gunners are planning to overhaul their squad, with a number of senior players expected to permanently depart in order to raise funds for potential incomings.
Therefore, there could be a few changes come August and perhaps the biggest one could be shirt numbers.
Any new arrival at the Emirates Stadium will be allocated a squad number, but certain departures could allow those who are staying to make a change.
Below are several Arsenal players who could change shirt numbers for 2021/22 season.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ departure from Arsenal in January could have an impact on Partey.
The Ghana international joined Arsenal from Atletico Madrid for £45m last summer and was given the no.18 as his favoured no.5 – which he wore at his former club and wears for the national team – was taken by Sokratis.
As the former Borussia Dortmund defender has left, it makes Partey chances of getting his dream shirt number all the more easier.
Although, he has had to wait a few months as players can’t make shirt number alterations during a season.
The iconic number 10 became vacant at the Emirates Stadium during the January transfer window after Mesut Ozil‘s move to Fenerbahce was completed.
And several members of the Arsenal first-team squad have already shown an interest in replacing the German playmaker – in terms of squad numbers – for the beginning of the 2021/22 season.
Interestingly, Lacazette did wear no.10 at Lyon for several seasons prior to joining Arsenal where he was given the no.9 instead.
Upon arriving in north London in the summer of 2017, Wilshere was still at the club and Ozil clearly got his request in first when the midfielder was released on a free transfer 12 months later.
Will the Frenchman be third time lucky?
Emile Smith Rowe
However, it seems Lacazette won’t get the chance to wear No.10 at Arsenal and nor will on-loan midfielder Martin Odegaard if he joins permanently this summer.
Prior to taking the No.11 upon arriving in January from La Liga giants Real Madrid, it was reported in Spain that he had initially requested to wear No.10.
But the report claims that it was explained to Odegaard that No.10 has already been earmarked for Emile Smith Rowe.
The attacking midfielder is in talks over a new contract with the Gunners and it would appear that the decision for him to be the club’s next No.10 has already been made.
From no.32 to no.10 would be quite the jump.
The Brazilian wonderkid has worn no.35 since arriving at Arsenal in the summer of 2019 and it’s a rather low squad number.
With no.11 potentially being available next season, now might just be the best time for a change as he could really kick on following an injury-disrupted campaign.
Alternatively, Martinelli could take on the no.23 shirt following the departure of compatriot David Luiz.
Although, he has hinted at wanting the no.14 shirt.
“I want to follow into Aubameyang’s footsteps, he’s a captain, he wears the number 14 shirt,” Martinelli told ESPN. “That is a symbol for this club and of course, I hope to be very successful at Arsenal.”
If that’s still the case, it may be a few more years of Martinelli wearing no.35.
Arsenal’s new pearl ‘citrine pale yellow’ is available to buy now from ArsenalDirect.
Purchases will be exclusive to Arsenal and kit manufacturers Adidas until May 20.
The jersey is inspired from an old classic from the club’s past, celebrating 50 years since the club won the league and FA Cup double.
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New contract, new squad number?
Next season could very well be Folarin Balogun’s breakthrough year after committing his future to the club last month and an upgrade on his no.38 would be a nice touch.
A change to the lower 20’s could be on the horizon with the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz and Emiliano Martinez all leaving over the past 12 months.