Porto playmaker Fabio Vieira is closing in on a move to Arsenal.
The Portuguese prodigy is undergoing a medical ahead of a €40m transfer to the Emirates Stadium and will become the Gunners’ third signing of the summer after Marquinhos and Matt Turner.
With Vieira set to don the red of Arsenal next season, what number could he sport on the back of his shirt? Let’s look at his options.
As of 17 June, the following numbers are available to Vieira: 2, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31 and any number from 35 upwards.
However, some of these numbers belong to players still contracted at the club. Hector Bellerin (2), Runar Alex Runarsson (13), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (15), Pablo Mari (22), Reiss Nelson (24) and Folarin Balogun (26) all spent last season out on loan an, though their futures at Arsenal hang in the balance.
It’s also being reported that Eddie Nketiah will take the famed number 14 shirt – made iconic by Thierry Henry – once he signs his new contract in north London.
Subscribe now to The Chronicles of a Gooner, 90min’s Arsenal podcast. In the latest episode, Harry Symeou discusses the incoming arrival of Fabio Vieira.
As mentioned, those returning to Arsenal from loan spells could be shifted on.
Meanwhile, other members of the squad could be sold. Rob Holding (16), Nicolas Pepe (19) and Nuno Tavares (20) have all been linked with exits, which would free their respective numbers up for Vieira to take.
For Arsenal fans hoping for a bit of nostalgia, it’s unlikely that namesake Patrick Vieira’s former number (4) will be vacated by Ben White.