As we all know by now that Henrik Mkhitariyan is an Arsenal player and Alexis Sanchez going the other way. However, the club announced that Mkhitariyan’s squad number was to be revealed later. It would have been easy to just give him the number 7 vacated by Alexis, but maybe they are saving it for a certain tall rangy striker. The Best squad numbers currently available are the No 7 vacated by Alexis and Walcott’s No 14.
We can speculate on which number Mkhi will eventually wear on his back. The No 7 is the most obvious choice, but Arsenal’s interest in Aubameyang and the likelihood of a deal happening might be the reason why he isn’t getting the number 7 just yet. PEA seems to really love the No 7 shirt number, his Dortmund squad number is 17 because the no 7 is occupied, even his twitter handle is “Aubameyang7”. The club seems to be holding no 7 for PEA either by request or otherwise. Therefore, it seems the only way Mkhi is getting the number 7 is if the PEA deal doesn’t happen.
The other big squad number left is the one vacated by Theo Walcott, the squad number worn by Henry king himself. Am sure Mkhi, PEA or any other player signing for the Arsenal would be happy to don the no 14. Only Walcott has worn the number since Henry left. Walcott divides opinion though, there is always the question of, has he fulfilled his potential? Was the pressure too much on him too early? Or has the level he reached his maximum and there was just too much hype surrounding him? So when he took the number 14 (his mentor’s number) some fans were excited at the prospect of another electric no 14 strutting his stuff at the Emirates given Walcott’s natural attributes. However, the weight of the no 14 along with many other factors never quite allowed Walcott to reach the level many expected him to reach
However, if Mkhitariyan gets the No 14, it would be unlikely that it becomes a burden to him. He is different kind of a player to Thierry, the fans would not expect anything more from him because he is wearing the number 14. Arsenal fans would except him to play well regardless of which number he is wearing. Ironically the number 14 would be the perfect squad number for PEA, he is the most similar player to Henry Arsenal would have since he left, from the graceful strides, to the lighting speed, and even the boundless swagger. However, because of their similarities Arsenal fans would expect some kind of henryism from PEA. So it might be a good decision to stay way from it, or maybe he might be the type who thrives on that kind of pressure, only time will tell.
Finally, on how Mkhi would help fill the void left by a certain Alexis Sanchez. I choose to look at the positives here as the negatives have been discussed for months now and am tired of it. The arrival of Mkhi should usher in a new era of Wenger ball. Alexis’ production over the years has been immense but it came at a cost, it made Arsenal less fluid and more predictable, let me explain. To go along with the amount of times Alexis loses the ball, every time the ball reaches Alexis during the build up he stops the build up to try a risky pass or only pass to Ozil when better options are available. Ozil is also a bit guilty of passing to Alexis only which made Arsenal very predictable. Jürgen Klopp recently when explaining the Ox’s new responsibilities at Liverpool was saying that at Arsenal “everything goes through Alexis and Ozil”, he might be saying it to make a point but it gives you a window into how rival coaches prepare for Arsenal, shut out Alexis and Ozil and we are good. Arsenal are better when the passing is without preference which Mkhi’s unselfish style will help facilitate leading to many more chances created. If Mkhitariyan is able the reach the level we know he can and Arsenal sign PAE, Arsenal would have improved from selling Alexis.