What every club’s vacant shirt numbers tell us about their deadline day transfer plans

Matt Stead
The shirt of Phil Jones
Phil Jones' No. 4 Manchester United shirt remains untouched

Manchester United want a goalkeeper and defensive midfielder. Chelsea, Fulham, West Ham and Wolves are after a forward. The vacant shirt numbers tell us.


Arsenal: 3
William Saliba took the vacant No. 2 this summer, bestowing the 12 upon sidelined new signing Jurrien Timber. That meant every Arsenal number up to 13 was taken until Kieran Tierney left for Real Sociedad, leaving the No. 3 technically free for a season. With the Gunners focused on outgoings it seems unlikely the spot will be filled.


Aston Villa: N/A
A few numbers in the high teens and beyond remain unclaimed at Villa Park but Youri Tielemans taking Morgan Sanson’s No. 8 shirt keeps things looking pretty neat.


Bournemouth: N/A
The Cherries started the summer needing a new left-back and central midfielder, but far more pressingly a new No. 3 and No. 8. Milos Kerkez and Joe Rothwell have slotted in nicely, the latter letting Alex Scott take the 14 after he limped in from Bristol City.


Brentford: 7
The scorer of their first-ever Premier League goal he may be, but Sergi Canos only ever had a limited shelf life as a top flight No. 7. The Spaniard has swanned off to Valencia and Brentford’s impending club-record move for a Liverpool target gives us an insight as to why.


Brighton: N/A
Bart Verbruggen has taken Robert Sanchez’s No. 1. The No. 3 has gone to Igor Julio. James Milner has inherited the No. 6. The No. 8 has ended up on the back of Mahmoud Dahoud. Joao Pedro has taken the No. 9. Julio Enciso traded the No. 20 for Alexis Mac Allister’s 10. Billy Gilmour has upgraded from 27 to 11. It has taken a fair bit of shifting around but Brighton have a vacant 12 that Carlos Baleba might want and that’s about it.


Burnley: 11
With James Trafford (1), Dara O’Shea (2), Jordan Beyer (5) and Benson Manuel (10) all filling gaps at Turf Moor, Vincent Kompany has one notable number left on his card. How he might like Mike Tresor to take it.


Chelsea: 4 and 9
Todd Boehly started the summer with a vacant No. 2, 3, 7 and 11. Axel Disasi, Marc Cucurella (for now), Raheem Sterling and Noni Madueke have taken those spots respectively. But Benoit Badiashile’s switch from 5 to 4 and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s exit means the Chelsea churn is not over. Cole Palmer might be picking between Jes Hogh’s old shirt or a wholly cursed one.


Crystal Palace: 4
What sane individual would try and replace Luka Milivojevic? Not sure Dean Henderson will take it.


Everton: 3 and 4
The new signings at Goodison Park have taken 18 (Ashley Young), 28 (Youssef Chermiti), 14 (Beto), 10 (Arnaut Danjuma) and 30 (Jack Harrison), but two ordinarily attractive numbers remain untouched after being vacated this summer. And Everton haven’t really been linked with any defenders.


Fulham: 9
Any number of targets could step into Aleksandar Mitrovic’s shoes, including Niclas Fullkrug, Lucas Ocampos, Pedro, Duvan Zapata or Hugo Ekitike.


Liverpool: N/A
Liverpool have every squad number covered up to Joe Gomez’s/Victor Moses’/Dani Pacheco’s No. 12. Is Ryan Gravenberch brave enough?


Luton Town: N/A
That’s how you do it. Gabriel Osho (2), Mads Andersen (5), Ross Barkley (6) and Chiedozie Ogbene (7) have set the Hatters up wonderfully. Now to pick up some points.


Manchester City: 1
There probably isn’t an awful lot of sleep being lost over no-one daring to touch Claudio Bravo’s legacy.


Manchester United: 1 and 4
The hope is that Mason Mount gives rather more care to The Famous No. 7 Shirt at Manchester United than Angel Di Maria ever did. Altay Bayindir may infuriate a few people by taking the No. 1 as back-up keeper to No. 24 Andre Onana. And might Sofyan Amrabat or Sergio Reguilon take the 4 as short-term solutions?


Newcastle United: N/A
No problems at St James’, although Martin Dubravka (1), Paul Dummett (3), Jamaal Lascelles (6) and Matt Ritchie (11) are all taking up some proper shirt number real estate while sitting on the bench at best.


Nottingham Forest: 3
Matt Turner took the No. 1 shirt, with Cheikhou Kouyate taking the 8 so Anthony Elanga could have 21, while Chris Wood nabbed Jesse Lingard’s 11. God, this is fun. As is wondering just who will take Steve Cook’s No. 3. Is this the way to a Murillo? Probably.


Sheffield United: N/A
That must be worth a few extra points. Brave Cameron Archer taking Billy Sharp’s 10.


Tottenham: 2
Reguilon’s No. 3 will also be vacant soon. Yves Bissouma has made the 8 his own and James Maddison has assumed the superpowers of the 10. Tottenham seem more likely to vacate a few numbers rather than filling Matt Doherty’s old 2.


West Ham: 11
With the No. 6 officially retired, the Hammers only have one significant opening. James Ward-Prowse has usurped former No. 7 Gianluca Scamacca and Lucas Paqueta has swapped from the 11 to the 10, although Manchester City almost made it far worse on that front. Yuri Alberto or Youssef En-Nesyri could take that opportunity if the Premier League leaders continue their summer spend.


Wolves: 9
Lovely work from Santiago Bueno to take the 4 but Wolves will soon have some Matheus Nunes cash burning a hole in their pockets and Raul Jimenez needs replacing.