Arsenal confirm Declan Rice shirt number

Arsenal confirm Declan Rice shirt number

After a protracted flirtation, eye-watering bidding war and interminable delay over the final legal details, Declan Rice has finally been unveiled in an Arsenal shirt and the club have confirmed which number will grace the back of their record acquisition.

Rice had been linked with a move away from West Ham for years, but it became a question of when and not if once the club’s chairman David Sullivan revealed that the captain had been promised a transfer on the morning after winning this year’s Europa Conference League.

Jurrien Timber and Kai Havertz have already arrived for a combined fee in excess of £105m – the same sum which West Ham have extracted from Arsenal for Rice.

The long-awaited statement announcing Rice’s arrival revealed that the 24-year-old would wear 41. Rice was randomly assigned the number at West Ham when he was promoted to the first team and stuck with the bulky digit even as he became a fixture of the starting XI.

Rice has previously worn four when playing for the England national team but his compatriot Ben White is the owner of that shirt at Arsenal.

The former Chelsea academy player was introduced to his new Arsenal teammates alongside Timber on Saturday as the pair prepare to jet off for the American leg of the club’s pre-season tour. The Gunners began the run-up to next season with a friendly against Nurnberg on Thursday before either Timber or Rice had been unveiled. Havertz did feature in an uninspiring 1-1 draw.



Years worn

Craig Holloway

2002 – 2003

Chris Wright

2004 – 2005

Arturo Lupoli

2005 – 2006

Joe O’Cearuill

2006 – 2007

Gavin Hoyte

2008 – 2009

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas

2010 – 2011

Robbie Burton

2019 – 2020

Ben Cottrell

2020 – 2021

Mauro Bandeira

2022 – 2023

Declan Rice

2023 – present

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number 41 does not boast a golden history at Arsenal. In fact, no player has worn the shirt for longer than one season in the 21st century.

The 19-year-old midfielder Mauro Bandeira was lumbered with the number when he made his first Premier League matchday squad for Arsenal last May but didn’t get off the bench. Ben Cottrell was the last player to actually appear in a competitive match for Arsenal while draped in 41, coming on for the final 13 minutes of a Europa League group game behind closed doors against Irish side Dundalk in December 2020.

In search of a way back into the game against Chelsea, Arsene Wenger turned to one of his youngsters on the bench, bringing on a teenage Jay Emmanuel-Thomas in 2010. Arsenal conceded a second goal with the midfielder on the pitch in what proved to be his first and last Premier League appearance.

Rice, who was still in Chelsea’s academy in 2010, will become the first Arsenal player to wear the 41 shirt in the top flight since Emmanuel-Thomas. The bar has not been set high.

On this week’s edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders is joined by Toby Cudworth and Graeme Bailey to discuss Tottenham rejecting a second bid for Harry Kane, Manchester United’s business, Romelu Lukaku’s Chelsea future, Paul Pogba being PIF’s number one target for the Saudi Pro League & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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