Arsenal signed Willian this summer and the former Chelsea number 10 took Arsenal’s number 12, so what players have worn that previously and what Willian has worn throughout his career?

Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Willian celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on March 3, 2020. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Willian celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on March 3, 2020. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

Willian wore the number 10 for Chelsea and we all know that Mesut Ozil doesn’t wear that number at Arsenal. Still, there was no chance of the Brazilian being handed Ozil’s number while the German was still under contract with the club.

Arsenal, as we also know, are trying to get Ozil out of the club but the German is not for moving. Willian was a signing the club seemed to want to do quickly, so he had to pick another number.

Willian didn’t always wear 10, however. Eden Hazard had it until he moved to Real Madrid and Willian only changed in the summer of 2019 from 22.

The 22 at Arsenal was only recently given to Pablo Mari so that wasn’t an option either.

Willian took Arsenal shirt number 12

Although Willian briefly wore 88 for Anzhi in his first season there, he has always worn the 10 or 22 for his club until he moved to north London.

For Brazil, he has worn 10 and 19 while he wore 7 for the Brazil u20 side.

That number has, of course recently gone to Bukayo Saka.

19 belongs to Nicolas Pepe.

Other numbers are available, for now, but some are already assigned to other players for the new season.

Arsenal 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  (Photo by Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images)

Olivier Giroud is probably the first player that comes to most peoples minds when they think of the 12 shirt at Arsenal but it has a long history that started in the 1965/66 season. You probably don’t even remember Stephan Lichtsteiner wore it between Giroud and Willian, because I know I’d forgotten.

If you don’t think of Giroud, you most likely think of Thierry Henry when he returned on loan, but I doubt anyone associates the 12 with the Frenchman after what he did wearing 14.

Arsenal's French player Thierry Henry, on loan from New York Red Bulls, celebrates scoring a goal during the third round FA Cup football match between Arsenal and Leeds United at The Emirates Stadium in London, on January 9, 2012. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON
Arsenal’s French player Thierry Henry, on loan from New York Red Bulls, celebrates scoring a goal during the third round FA Cup football match between Arsenal and Leeds United at The Emirates Stadium in London, on January 9, 2012. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON

Willian is the 52nd player to wear the 12 at Arsenal. Here are the other 51:

  • Stephan Lichtsteiner (18/19),
  • Olivier Giroud (12/13 – 17/18),
  • Thierry Henry (11/12),
  • Carlos Vela (08/09 – 09/10),
  • Laurén (00/01 – 06/07),
  • Christopher Wreh (97/98 – 99/00),
  • Andy Linighan (93/94 – 96/97),
  • Martin Keown (94/95),
  • Vince Bartram (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)
1977: Portrait of Liam Brady of Arsenal. Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport
1977: Portrait of Liam Brady of Arsenal. Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport

Other shirt numbers could become free with the sale of players.

Arsenal shirt numbers that could become free this summer: