Willian has a new shirt number at Arsenal, after signing on a free transfer from Chelsea on Friday following the conclusion of his contract at Stamford Bridge.

Willian after signing for Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal.com)
Willian after signing for Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal.com)

Arsenal confirmed Willian will take 12 for his shirt number next season, after completing his move to the club. Stephan Lichtsteiner was the most recent player to wear the number, with Olivier Giroud, Thierry Henry, Carlos Vela and Lauren as the other four in the last 20 years.

Hopefully, Willian will perform significantly more impressively for Arsenal than Lichtsteiner did. The Gunners signed the right-back on an initial one-year deal with the option to extend for a further two, but they ended up giving up on him before the first year was even up.

By contrast, Willian has a three-year deal with Arsenal, with no options to cut it short or extend it. That doesn’t rule out selling him before the three years are up, of course.

Willian after signing for Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal.com)
Willian after signing for Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal.com)

Normally, I judge shirt numbers based positions. Three is great for a left-back, seven for a winger, and so on. It’s hard to do the same for Willian because we aren’t really sure where Mikel Arteta plans to use him.

When the club website asked the player himself, he said: “I don’t know (where I’ll play)! I leave that to Arteta. I come to help in every position. I can play on the right, I can play in the middle, I can play on the left side as well.

“So I want to help. In any position where they put me to play, I will try to do my best.”

Arsenal’s shirt number 12

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 15: Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring a goal during the match between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Arsenal FC at ANZ Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 15: Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring a goal during the match between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Arsenal FC at ANZ Stadium on July 15, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images)

Willian becomes the 52nd player to wear the 12 and follows in these players’ footsteps with the shirt at Arsenal:

  • Stephan Lichtsteiner (18/19)
  • Olivier Giroud (12/13 – 17/18)
  • Thierry Henry (11/12)
  • Carlos Vela (08/09 – 09/10)
  • LaurĂ©n (00/01 – 06/07)
  • Christopher Wreh (97/98 – 99/00)
  • Andy Linighan (93/94 – 96/97)
  • Martin Keown (94/95)
  • Vince Bartram Goalkeepers (94/95)
  • Steve Bould (93/94 – 94/95)
  • Anders Limpar (91/92)
  • David O’Leary (90/91 – 91/92)
  • Perry Groves (86/87 – 90/91)
  • Graham Rix (87/88)
  • Paul Merson (86/87)
  • Martin Hayes (84/85 – 86/87)
  • Ian Allinson (83/84 – 86/87)
  • Niall Quinn (85/86)
  • Paul Davis (82/83 – 85/86)
  • Tony Adams (84/85)
  • Charlie Nicholas (84/85),
  • Brian Talbot (84/85)
  • Lee Chapman (82/83 – 83/84)
  • Brian McDermott (80/81 – 83/84)
  • John Hawley (82/83)
  • Peter Nicholas (81/82)
  • Paul Vaessen (79/80 – 81/82)
  • Steve Gatting (80/81)
  • David Price (80/81)
  • Sammy Nelson (79/80)
  • Steve Walford (78/79 – 79/80)
  • Steve Brignall (78/79)
  • Peter Simpson (65/66 – 77/78)
  • John Matthews (77/78)
  • Peter Storey (76/77)
  • Frank Stapleton (75/76)
  • Liam Brady (75/76)
  • Terry Mancini (75/76)
  • Richie Powling (74/75)
  • Eddie Kelly (70/71 – 73/74)
  • Frank McLintock (72/73)
  • Charlie George (69/70 – 72/73)
  • Peter Marinello (70/71 – 71/72)
  • John Roberts (70/71 – 71/72)
  • George Graham (68/69 – 70/71)
  • Ray Kennedy (69/70)
  • Terry Neill (69/70)
  • Colin Addison (67/68)
  • Bob Gould (67/68)
  • George Johnston (67/68)
  • Billy McCullough (65/66)