Every Prem club’s most notable vacant shirt numbers

Date published: Tuesday 12th June 2018 11:31

Vacant numbers: 3, 5, 15, 19
Formerly held by
: Jordi Osei-Tutu, Per Mertesascker, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla

Nos. 1 and 2 were both made vacant last season by Wojciech Szczesny and Mathieu Debuchy’s departures, but Petr Cech and Hector Bellerin have snapped them up. Per Mertesacker has chosen to pass his No. 4 jersey down to the leader of the next generation: Mohamed Elneny. Jordi Osei-Tutu had the 3 bestowed upon him for Europa League games in 2017/18, but had No. 63 domestically. Obviously. Sokratis Papastathopoulos will fancy the No. 5, and Steven N’Zonzi has worn 15 throughout his entire career. It’s THE BIGGEST HINT YET that they’ll sign him.


Vacant numbers: 9, 20
Formerly held by
: Benik Afobe, Marc Wilson

Max Gradel (No. 10) and Aaron Ramsdale (No. 12) will hope to be given their shirt numbers back if and when they return from their respective loans. But Bournemouth have a sizeable gap to fill after Benik Afobe’s probable move to Stoke via Wolverhampton. No player scored more than eight league goals for the Cherries last season; Eddie Howe is about to commit double avian homicide with a piece of hard solid non-metallic mineral matter.


Vacant numbers: 4, 14, 15
Formerly held by
: Uwe Hunemeier, Steve Sidwell, Jamie Murphy

Uwe Hunemeier has an awful lot to answer for. Chris Hughton had each of Brighton’s shirt numbers from 1-26 filled last season, but the centre-half’s departure for Germany has caused the Jenga tower to collapse. Steve Sidwell and Jamie Murphy have added fuel to the raging fire.


Vacant numbers: 7, 8, 14, 15, 20
Formerly held by
: Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, Dean Marney, David Jones, Patrick Bamford, Fredrik Ulvestad

As Burnley prepare to launch an assault on the rest of Europe, they must do so without Sadio’s brother Dean, who has vacated the No. 8 shirt. Georges-Kevin Nkoudou’s return to Tottenham also leaves a gap at No. 7, one that Sean Dyche likely does not give a single toss about. The No. 14 has presumably been retired in honour of David Jones.


Vacant numbers: 1, 12
Formerly held by
: Allan McGregor, Liam Feeney

Cardiff have not found a permanent home for the No. 1 shirt since David Marshall left for newly-promoted Hull City in summer 2016. Allan McGregor took up that mantle for a few months on loan in early 2017, but not for long. Current first-choice goalkeeper Neil Etheridge had better beware.


Vacant numbers: 12, 19, 20
Formerly held by
: John Obi Mikel, Diego Costa, Victor Moses

Chelsea have done fairly well in terms of filling the gaps, but two notable numbers remain unfilled. The weight of the No. 25 has scared off all potential suitors since Gianfranco Zola’s exit in 2003, while John Terry’s 26 is still free. It will presumably stay as such until 2026, by which time he will have rejoined the club aged 46, just to start a game and be substituted off for his son in the 26th minute. He will swap shirts with him, be given a lovely crown and sit atop a throne, on which he will be carried off the pitch, appointed manager and knighted the biggest, baddest lion of all the lions ever.


Crystal Palace
Vacant numbers: 8, 14, 16, 19, 20
Formerly held by
: Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Lee Chung-yong, Diego Cavalieri, Freddie Ladapo, Jonny Williams

Joel Ward (No. 2) and Yohan Cabaye (No. 7) are expected to sign new contracts and stay at Selhurst Park, meaning Ruben Loftus-Cheek leaves a sizeable gap in more ways than one. What they would give for him to keep his No. 8 shirt…


Vacant numbers: 8, 12, 13
Formerly held by
: Ross Barkley, Aaron Lennon, Eliaquim Mangala

Contrary to popular belief, Everton do not have 427 No. 10s. They have one, and Wayne Rooney might well vacate that shirt this summer. But as long as he and Sandro Ramirez (No. 9) are contracted to the Toffees, their spirit lingers. The same cannot be said for Ross Barkley, whose successor will surely arrive soon.


Vacant numbers: 5, then quite a few more
Formerly held by
: Rafa Soares

The failed loan move of supposed former Liverpool target Rafa Soares leaves a gap at No. 5. Slavisa Jokanovic is also having sleepless nights about filling gaps at 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21. Poor fella.


Vacant numbers: 4, 12, 14, 16, 18
Formerly held by
: Dean Whitehead, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, Martin Cranie, Jack Payne, Joe Lolley

David Wagner comes oh so close to joining Chelsea in reaching the seemingly impossible holy grail of filling every number from 1-11. Curse you, the (shy and) retiring Dean Whitehead.


Vacant numbers: 4, 12
Formerly held by
: Danny Drinkwater, Ben Hamer

Returning loanees will reclaim their No. 10 (Andy King), No. 13 (Ahmed Musa) and No. 19 (Islam Slimani) shirts at least briefly, leaving Danny Drinkwater’s No. 4 as the biggest vacancy. Get Esteban Cambiasso back in for a bit.


Vacant numbers: 3, 10, 13
Formerly held by
: Mamadou Sakho, Philippe Coutinho, Alex Manninger

Naby Keita is taking Steven Gerrard’s No. 8 shirt when he finally joins, but will Fabinho readily accept the pressure that comes with replacing Mamadou Sakho as No. 3? Manchester United fans were wondering which shirt number he would take at Old Trafford this time last year.

Liverpool’s search for a long-term successor to one of their best players and most successful investments ever also continues. Where exactly does one go after Alex Manninger?


Manchester City
Vacant numbers: 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16
Formerly held by
: Fernando, Nolito, Aleksandar Kolarov, Scott Sinclair, Willy Caballero, Sergio Aguero

That bald fraud needs to sort his sh*t out, to be quite frank with you. He’s going to have to adjust to our shirt numbers if he’s to succeed here.


Manchester United
Vacant numbers: 10, 13, 15
Formerly held by
: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anders Lindegaard, Daley Blind

Even with an ever-expanding squad, Jose Mourinho cannot quite fill every number. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s exit three months ago prevents the Portuguese from completing the 1-11 clean sweep. Fred is definitely taking the No. 10 shirt to take the 92.


Vacant numbers: 4, 5, 13, 15
Formerly held by
: Jack Colback, Grant Hanley, Islam Slimani, Kenedy

Football law dictates that Newcastle will be signing a tough-tackling central midfielder and a dominant centre-half for the first team this summer. At least one of them will need to be a club-record signing.


Vacant numbers: 1, 4, 12, 15, 17
Formerly held by
: Fraser Forster, Jordy Clasie, Martin Caceres, Cuco Martina, Virgil van Dijk

If Mark Hughes has anything about him, he will prioritise Southampton’s squad numbers above anything else. It really is not good enough to have striker Shane Long as a No. 7. Honestly.


Vacant numbers: 8, 16
Formerly held by: Ryan Mason, Kieran Trippier

Fans of maths – so all of us – will be excited to know that the number 24, occupied by Serge Aurier, is the only Tottenham shirt number divisible by 8 that is currently taken. So yeah.

In other news, both the No. 26 and No. 30 shirts have been vacated for a while. Ledley King is yet to be replaced in the former, while the latter might well have been retired after legendary Irishman Paul O’Pez left in 2017.


Vacant numbers: 12, 13
Formerly held by
: Molla Wague, Molla Wague

Molla Wague.


West Ham
Vacant numbers: 1, 4, 6, 15, 18, 19, 20
Formerly held by
: Darren Randolph, Jose Fonte, Matthew Upson, Diafra Sakho, Joao Mario, James Collins, Andre Ayew

Where to start with West Ham? With their No. 6 shirt, which is waiting for its next legendary centre-half incumbent after Matthew Upson, Neil Ruddock and some bloke called Robert Moore. Or at No. 4, where there is a Jose Fonte-shaped hole?

The last eight players to wear the No. 1 shirt could not be a more West Ham list if it was claret and blue, made of bubbles and owned by a pair of diamond geezers: Darren Randolph, Jussi Jääskeläinen, Rob Green, Roy Carroll, Stephen Bywater, David James, Shaka Hislop and Ludek Miklosko.


Vacant numbers: 10
Formerly held by: Joe Mason

A gold star – or amber, if you prefer – to Wolves, who are pretty bloody good with their shirt numbers. Jorge Mendes might as well have the 10.


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