Nine of the most satisfying squad number changes in the Premier League

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Arsenal, Everton and Manchester United have provided the Premier League with some of the most satisfying squad number changes ahead of the 2018-19 season.

We’re sticklers for traditional squad numbers and have absolutely no time for the likes of William Gallas wearing the No.10.

With that in mind, here are some changes which are just really, really satisying.

Hector Bellerin

2018-19 will be Bellerin’s fifth campaign in which he has been established in Arsenal’s first team, and he has been the club’s first-choice right-back for the majority of that time.

So far he has worn No.40, 39 and 24 but finally, finally, this is the season Bellerin takes his rightful place as the club’s No.2.

“It’s been my favourite number since I’ve been a full-back,” he told Football London. “But since I came to the club it was always a number that was taken by other players.

“When I first signed I got a present of a number two shirt, so to now get it after seven years, it’s something which allows me to see the progress that I’ve taken.

“I’m really proud to be able to wear it because so many legends at Arsenal have worn it [in the past].”

It’s going to really annoy us when he gets dropped for Stephan Lichtsteiner now.

Mohamed Elneny

There has been a growing trend in England in recent years of defensive midfielders being referred to as “the six”, no doubt owing to the continental influence on the competition.

But David Batty wore No.4 and he was – and always was – right. Elneny knows, and we respect him for that.

READ: 13 of the worst squad numbers in history: Gallas, Davids, Gyan & more

Petr Cech

Sticking with Arsenal, Cech has taken the No.1 shirt after an upsetting three years wearing No.33.

He started the Gunners’ opening game of the season against Manchester City, but part of us thinks the north Londoners have done this just to annoy us – Bernd Leno is No.33 and tipped to take over as first-choice goalkeeper before long.

Marcus Rashford

Mark Hughes, David Beckham, Teddy Sheringham, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

No pressure, Marcus, but the list of players to wear the No.10 shirt for Manchester United in the Premier League is pretty illustrious.

But it was a challenge the 20-year-old was keen to take on, according to Jose Mourinho.

“He wanted it,” Mourinho told MUTV. “He always wanted it. Of course, he respected the big Rooney and then Zlatan wanted to have it.

“Of course, he was in the shadow, waiting for the opportunity and now the shirt is empty. It’s something fantastic for the kid, let’s give the shirt to him.”

Sadio Mané

Often, when players move to a club and take one number, they stick with it regardless of how unsuitable it is.

So a massive well done to Mané for snapping up the No.10 shirt at the first available opportunity following Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona last season. He certainly isn’t your archetypal No.10, but it just moves Liverpool that bit closer to the 1-11 dream we all have.

Gylfi Sigurdsson

Another beneficiary of Schneiderlin finally giving up his disgraceful reign of the No.2 shirt is Sigurdsson, who has moved to become Everton’s No.10.

Sigurdsson was one of the large number of players capable of operating as the central attacking midfielder signed by the Toffees last summer.

With Wayne Rooney having left for MLS, the Iceland international is likely to make the position his own this term.

READ: The good, the bad and the ugly of iconic squad number successors

Sol Bamba

We have a soft spot for Bamba which dates back to his time at Leeds United, when he got incredibly drunk at their end of year awards party and was filmed singing Marching On Together with supporters in the toilets.

Sadly, we couldn’t get on board with the centre-back wearing the No.14 shirt – synonymous with the genius of Johan Cruyff and Thierry Henry- as Cardiff won promotion last season, even if Neil Warnock often used him as a defensive midfielder.

The 33-year-old will instead wear the No.22 shirt this season, which seems wholly more appropriate for a man of his specific skillset.

Bobby Reid, meanwhile, an actual forward, will wear the No.14.

Mason Holgate

Morgan Schneiderlin is not the most popular figure among Everton supporters, and we share that disdain mainly because the midfielder has worn the No.2 shirt over the past 18 months.

Thankfully, Holgate has come in to save the day by snatching the No.2 shirt away from the Frenchman, who has moved to the No.18.

According to the Liverpool Echo, Marco Silva is a keen admirer of Holgate and the 21-year-old, who can operate at centre-back or right-back, is set to be a key member of his squad.

Alex McCarthy

Southampton have three England goalkeeper hopefuls on their books with McCarthy and Fraser Forster, plus new signing Angus Gunn, who arrived in a £13.5million deal from Manchester City this summer.

McCarthy, however, has been given the nod as the No.1 – following two years in the No.13 – after usurping Forster last season and helping the Saints avoid relegation under Mark Hughes, winning the club’s Player of the Year award in the process.

The 28-year-old, who has been called up to the England squad twice, signed a new four-year deal in the summer and was also linked with Tottenham.

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