Ben White has been handed the number four shirt at Arsenal, filling the gap left by the loan departure of William Saliba this season.
That’s obviously got some people talking, as William Saliba was previously handed the number. Though admittedly he’d taken it from another first-team player himself, as Mohamed Elneny had it before he went on loan to Besiktas.
Clearly, given the Elneny example involving the same number and the same player, this isn’t unheard of. We also saw Martin Odegaard take Lucas Torreira’s number while Torreira was on loan last season.
It’s hard not to wonder what Saliba thinks about it, though. It does feel a bit different taking a number off Elneny, who appeared to be on the way out, versus someone like Saliba who you’d hope still has a long-term future.
Hopefully, he’ll understand that these number decisions are really just based on trying to sell shirts, and it’s a lot easier to market White with the number four.