The strange ballad of the Arsenal #9

Rob Tonkinson

Shirt numbers at different clubs all have different sentimental values – for the likes of Arsenal, as well as Liverpool and Manchester United wearing the No.7 shirt is one of the highest honours.

At Arsenal especially, you’re following in the footsteps of Liam Brady, David Rocastle and Robert Pires and usually have to score vital winners over rivals Spurs – whilst at Liverpool it evokes memories of Kenny Dalglish and Luis Suarez and at United: Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Over the years, the No.9 shirt has usually been the cherished item of a prolific striker, the likes of Alan Shearer, Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahmimovic have all made the 9 shirt their own and provide to it’s rich history.

With Alexandre Lacazette making his club record move to the Gunners this week, he could be the next in the long line of Arsenal No.9s but given its history, would he want to be?

Not since the early days of Alan Smith has the Arsenal No.9 shirt been a sought after item with many fans believing it to be cursed with only Nicolas Anelka having any success in the shirt before he was sold in 1999.

However, even the beloved Smudger seemed to be a victim of the nine curse as have all the following players.

Gunners fans will be hoping any incoming striker can return the number 9 shirt to its former glories or that they may avoid the shirt altogether given it’s history.

Whilst the No.7 could be the highest honour for an outfield player at Arsenal, the nine is almost a death knell to their careers before it begins.

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