Soccer

Arsenal shirt numbers Lautaro Martinez could wear as Inter Milan star ‘wants to join’

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Arsenal have already spent close to £75million on first-team reinforcements ahead of this season’s Premier League campaign – and they may look to break the bank again by pursuing a deal for Inter Milan talisman Lautaro Martinez.

Mikel Arteta’s men are wary of an ageing front line. With Alexandre Lacazette, 30, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 32, not getting any younger, the Gunners need a new superstar upfront to bring fresh hope to the Emirates.

And Martinez appears to be at the top of their list, with the Argentine having scored 17 goals in the Serie A last season to end an 11-year hiatus between the club and the ‘Scudetto.’

The move wouldn’t be cheap; in fact, according to Tuttosport, it would marginally break their transfer record of the £72m paid to Lille for Nicolas Pepe by just £5m if the move was to materialise.

But with a proven track record of goals at the best club in Italy, and with 29 caps for Argentina at the age of just 23, the £77m shelled out for Martinez would represent good value.

If the Argentine can hit the ground running, he may be able to replicate the glories of former legends such as Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp or Robert Pires. However, with the 14, 10 and 7 shirts already taken up by key players, it may be hard to waltz into the shirt and follow in their footsteps.

Express Sport takes a look at shirts that Martinez could make his own should he make the move to North London.

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Number 11

Primarily a number given to a winger, the No 11 shirt isn’t likely to be the first in Martinez’s thought process, should he look to bask in the same glory of his current No 10 shirt he dons at Inter Milan.

However, with Lucas Torreira’s impending departure from The Gunners given his links to Atletico Madrid over the years, it appears that the No 11 shirt will be vacant at some point this summer. As the Uruguayan is moved on to make space for attacking reinforcements, this frees up a shirt that many would take in a heartbeat – which Martinez may just have to do.

The No 11 shirt has been worn by some exceptional strikers in the past, too. Robin van Persie wore it for the majority of his stint at Arsenal, whilst other frontmen such as Ian Wright and Kevin Campbell also made their names in it before moving on to the more favourable numbers.

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Number 8

Usually the shirt is given to a midfield maestro, Martinez may have to grab the No 8 shirt due to the low number of options he has to choose from.

Again, Arsenal legends have made their name in this shirt in the past; Ian Wright took it from No 11, Freddie Ljungberg achieved hero status, and even Martinez’s potential boss Mikel Arteta wore the shirt for half a decade.

It is the lowest number available, and it would wholeheartedly make sense for the Argentine to take it – however, with Martin Odegaard being linked with a return to north London, Martinez may be forced to take another shirt.

Number 29

This would be more of a rogue choice; however, if Martinez was to replicate his Inter Milan form in this shirt, it could help to dispel the curse that has clouded the No 29 jersey for years.

The last four players to have worn the shirt are Marouane Chamakh, Kim Kallstrom, Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi.

Chamakh and Kallstrom suffered less than desirable spells at the Emirates under Arsene Wenger, and despite Xhaka playing better in his recent 34 shirt, the start of his Arsenal career exerted no confidence whatsoever.

With No 29 having a vacancy since the start of last season, it could be time for a superstar to step in and give it the boost it needs.

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