Cristiano Ronaldo deal can hand William Saliba the dream scenario at Arsenal – on one condition.
Prior to the 2022–23 season, William Saliba was given the number 12 jersey, although there’s a chance he might switch it if Arsenal decide to terminate Hector Bellerin’s contract.
Before the summer transfer window ends, William Saliba might switch to a different squad number at Arsenal, and he can thank Cristiano Ronaldo for that.
The 2022–23 Premier League season began last Friday night. The Frenchman’s role in the Gunners’ 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace was important for a number of reasons, including the fact that, three years after joining the team, he was given his competitive debut and turned in a man-of-the-match performance.
Saliba also wore the number 12 on the back of his Arsenal jersey, which he won’t be permitted to change until the following season in accordance with Premier League regulations: According to a statement, “A Player shall maintain his shirt number during the Season for which it was assigned, as long as he remains with the Club.”
There is one situation where this rule does not apply. The Premier League authorized a special exemption to allow Edinson Cavani to give up the number 7 jersey upon Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United last summer so the Portuguese superstar could continue donning the recognizable number.
The Uruguayan had made a substitute appearance against Wolves about 48 hours prior to Ronaldo’s official completion of his return to Old Trafford on transfer deadline day when this transaction was finalised after the Red Devils had played their first three games of the 2021/22 season.
Since Saliba appeared to imply last month upon returning to London Colney for preseason training that he would like to wear his dream no. 2 shirt this season, this is a path he might take if he wishes to change his squad number in the upcoming weeks.
Naturally, a lot depends on what happens to Hector Bellerin. The defender currently wears the no. 2 shirt for Arsenal, but rumors that he will return to Real Betis are heating up as transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano provides the most recent information on the Spaniard’s future.
Hector Bellerin’s agent is currently in London, where he spoke with the Arsenal board, according to reports. The meeting reportedly took place in the morning. “There are still talks about ending the AFC contract. It is Bellerin’s top priority to get back to Real Betis as soon as possible.”
Saliba will have the chance to inherit the number two shirt if Bellerin’s contract is terminated, but only under the condition that the Gunners are given special permission if a request is made to change the squad number, which Arsenal technical director Edu has already acknowledged is a possibility.