Arsenal report: Declan Rice has already confirmed his next shirt number

Arsenal target Declan Rice of West Ham United reacts during the Premier League match between Leeds United and West Ham United at Elland Road on January 04, 2023 in Leeds, England.
(Image credit: George Wood/Getty Images)

Arsenal target Declan Rice could be given his perfect number upon signing for the Gunners.

The deal for the West Ham United captain is progressing, with the Gunners having registered two bids so far and plenty of expectation that Rice will be an Arsenal player soon. The Hammers are believed to want £100 million.

With plenty of rumours of outgoings, however, some fans are speculating over what squad number Rice would be given. The Athletic's David Ornstein broke the news that No.5 Thomas Partey could be departing and confirmed that Arsenal are interested in Jurrien Timber; Kieran Tierney may yet stay, too, according to FootballTransfers.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta gestures during the Gunners' 3-3 draw at home to Southampton in the Premier League in April 2023.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta might have to switch some squad numbers around (Image credit: Getty Images)

William Saliba is widely expected to take the No.2 shirt, which has been vacant since the departure of Hector Bellerin last summer. Tierney's exit could free up No.3 for Ben White – the shirt he wore at Brighton & Hove Albion – leaving No.4 or No.5 free for Rice or Timber.

But Rice has already indicated that actually, he would be happy to wear the No.41 wherever he went.

"It was just the number I was given in the academy by the kitman," he told Gary Neville on The Overlap. "When you are in the under-23s there are the first team squad numbers and then it gets to the higher numbers and I was given 41 when I went to Seattle on my first trip with the first team. I was just given 41 and it has stayed with me since.

"And to be honest with you I have been having these conversations with my dad, regardless of what happens in my career I may stay with 41.

Declan Rice of England gestures during the FIFA World Cup 2022 quarter-final match between England and France at the Al Bayt Stadium on 10 December, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar.

Declan Rice has worn a variety of numbers for England (Image credit: David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

"I just think 'Rice 41' has a nice ring to it and obviously, I have grown up playing in it and I am a bit superstitious with things like that. I don't know if I change to a new number if it will hamper my performances, I don't know! Sometimes I think about things like that."

Rice is valued at €90m by Transfermarkt

More Arsenal stories

Arsenal transfer news is ramping up this summer, as the Gunners chase four major stars to begin the window.

Declan Rice is almost complete, according to reports. Ajax star Jurrien Tmber is on the shortlist, along with Romeo Lavia of Southampton. Former Gunner Jeremie Aliadiere has explained exclusively to FFT why Kai Havertz is necessary as a signing, too.

Thomas Partey is linked to Saudi Arabia, though Kieran Tierney may stay after all, following talks with Mikel Arteta. 

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