While Aston Villa have been circling over Emile Smith Rowe this summer, the infamously named ‘Croydon De Bruyne’ has been deciding which number he would like as he plots his rise to stardom at Arsenal.
The 20-year-old creative technician has been subject to various bids, all of which have been declined, from Dean Smith’s side following his tremendous breakthrough season under Mikel Arteta last term.
Smith Rowe has featured 33 times across all competitions under the Gunners boss directly contributing towards 12 goals, operating as a left-winger, attacking midfielder and central midfield.
Despite the attention Smith Rowe picked up from his excellent performances last season, the youngster returned from his holidays as he prepares for the forthcoming season under Arteta.
Though, upon returning to pre-season duties the number on Smith Rowe’s training gear sparked Arsenal fans into a frenzy as the midfielder was pictured wearing a training top with the number ten, despite wearing number 32 last season, following a picture with a fan that went viral on Twitter.
However, as exciting as Arsenal fans may be, Smith Rowe wore his original number 32 shirt in the Gunners’ most recent pre-season friendly against Rangers that ended 2-2.
Speaking to Jamie Redknapp in an interview, the England Under-21 international openly admitted he is an Arsenal fan adding fuel to the fire that Smith Rowe has his eyes set on continuing the club’s number ten legacy, following on in the footsteps of several star-studded former greats.
Here are five former players that famously wore the number ten at Arsenal.
The most recent of the named five on the list. Mesut Özil swapped the Santiago Bernabeu for the Emirates in 2013 for £42.3million having just won the Spanish Super Cup with Real Madrid and initially wore the number eleven shirt before taking the ten shirt in 2018.
Özil went on to make 254 appearances for the Gunners directly contributing towards 121 goals while also lifting four FA Cups in the meantime.
Despite his sour ending to life in north London, the World Cup winner will certainly be fondly remembered by many Gunners fans and undoubtedly go down as one of the Premier League’s finest creative players.
The number ten shirt at Arsenal was home to Dennis Bergkamp for ten years as the Dutchman incredibly won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.
Despite being Arsene Wenger’s most substituted player, Bergkamp was a staple in the Frenchman’s side and played a major role in becoming the only side in the league’s history to win and finish the league unbeaten.
Speaking in the interview with Redknapp, Smith Rowe said that Bergkamp was among three other names he labelled as his childhood hero strengthening the youngster’s plot for a new number this season.
Smith Rowe: “Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg. Watching them, the way they’d score, unbelievable.”
Paul Merson picked up the number ten shirt from Alan Smith in 1991 and held onto the number until 1997 before handing it to the then youngster, Nicolas Anelka.
In his first season wearing the number ten for the Gunners, Merson scored twelve goals in 42 First Division games and, having already lifted the likes of the First Division title, went on to win the domestic double in 1993.
Smith wore the number ten shirt for just one season at Arsenal in 1990/91, although, it may have not been his most famous number at the club it was a number that earmarked a historic season.
Wearing the ten shirt, the former England international featured 17 times for the Gunners in the First Division scoring eight times as he helped lift the club’s tenth league trophy. The stars aligned and number ten shirt for the tenth league title is special.
Smith wore six different numbers from his time at Arsenal and becoming most recognised for his time wearing the number nine for seven seasons from 1987/88 to 1994/95. Whether he was wearing the eight, nine, ten, 12, 13 or 14, it was just a number to Smith as he finished his career in north London having scored 45 goals in 179 appearances.
Perhaps his sheer excellence and exceptional time as manager of Arsenal overshadows George Graham’s time as the club’s number ten, for all the right reasons of course.
The three-time First Division league winner, one of which as a player, wore the number ten shirt for two seasons in 1968/69 and 1969/70.
Although Graham’s short term reign with the number ten shirt may not have been as fruitful as Smith’s, he went on to become a hugely successful manager at Arsenal winning an abundance of honours including two First Division titles, an FA Cup and two football league cups.
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Source by Football London