Done Deal: Number Already Reserved as Arsenal to Announce New Signing

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George Lewis is almost certainly signing for Arsenal this summer, with the club seemingly reserving a shirt number for him.

Based on recent training pictures, it appears George Lewis will join Arsenal and wear 48 as his shirt number.

For those who aren’t aware, Arsenal number their u23 squad in alphabetical order based on last name, starting with 36 and working their way up. Hence Ryan Alebiosu is number 36 for next season, followed by Daniel Ballard on 37, and so on.

Interestingly, no one has taken up the number between Tyreece John-Jules on 47 and Joel Lopez on 49. There isn’t anyone in the current u23 squad with a last name that would fit between those two alphabetically.

However, as originally spotted by Jeorge Bird, Arsenal transfer target George Lewis fits. Quotes in May from Fram Larvik sporting director Jostein Jensen and the player’s agent seemingly confirmed the winger is joining the Arsenal u23s for next season.

There’s still no official confirmation, but this squad number gap is the strongest hint we’ve had so far. If we weren’t close to a deal, they could just move everyone up a number and then put Lewis at the end of the list, as they normally do with late summer signings.

The fact they’ve left it free suggests it’s almost a sure thing now. Here’s the full list of Arsenal u23s by number:

  • 36 Alebiosu
  • 37 Ballard
  • 38 Balogun
  • 39 Bola
  • 40 Clarke
  • 41 Cottrell
  • 42 Coyle
  • 43 Greenwood
  • 44 Hein
  • 45 Hillson
  • 46 Iliev
  • 47 John-Jules
  • 48 –
  • 49 Lopez
  • 50 McEneff
  • 51 McGuinness
  • 52 Medley
  • 53 Okonkwo
  • 54 Olayinka
  • 55 Olowu
  • 56 Osei-Tutu
  • 57 Sheaf
  • 58 M. Smith
  • 59 T. Smith
  • 60 Swanson

It’s worth noting that the numbering is done on an age basis, rather than ability. As an example, Miguel Azeez is likely to feature with the u23s a lot this season, but he still gets numbered as a second-year scholar (66, in his case).

That’s why Bukayo Saka got 77 last year, even though he was playing for the first team!

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