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11 July 2017

Alexandre Lacazette could regret taking the Arsenal number 9 shirt… just ask Francis Jeffers

IN order to try and entice Kylian Mbappe to the Emirates this summer, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has promised the youngster he would be the Gunners’ No9 next season.

But Football Whispers have looked through the Premier League era at Arsenal and found that being handed the infamous No9 jersey in North London isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Arsene Wenger has promised Kylian Mbappe the No9 shirt if he joins Arsenal
Arsene Wenger has promised Kylian Mbappe the No9 shirt if he joins Arsenal
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On Mbappe, France boss Didier Deschamps said: “He thinks he needs to play.


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“But I’d say the boy has made enough of an impression to be sure that a club who spends £100million for you gives you the red carpet treatment.”

Deschamps was clear in what he thinks about the 18-year-old forward, and with bids flying in, the speculation will continue to run through the summer.

Yet, with Champions League football guaranteed and a starting spot beside Radamel Falcao in the south of France, Mbappe might be better off sticking to his No29 Monaco jersey for the time being.

These flops show why Kylian Mbappe may want to avoid Arsenal's number 9 shirt
Arsene Wenger is hoping to land £122m-rated Monaco star Kylian Mbappe
Arsene Wenger is hoping to land £122m-rated Monaco star Kylian Mbappe
PA:Press Association

With 26 goals in 44 games this season, Mbappe has averaged 0.59 goals per game, a superb return in his first full season.

By way of comparison, Arsenal two greatest strikers from the Premier League era, Ian Wright and Thierry Henry, averaged 0.54 and 0.61 respectively.

Since the league introduced squad numbers in 1993, Lucas Perez became the 11th player to be assigned the Arsenal No9.

Despite an average season his average of 0.36 goals per game actually ranks him as one of the better strikers to hold the jersey.

Kylian Mbappe enjoyed a stunning season with Ligue 1 champions Monaco
Kylian Mbappe enjoyed a stunning season with Ligue 1 champions Monaco
Getty Images

Lukas Podolski, with 31 goals in 82 games has the best record for the club.

He remains a cult hero and was a fan-favourite before his loan spell to Inter Milan then saw him leave for Galatasaray.

Although Paul Merson only scored 39 goals in 201 games before moving to Middlesbrough in 1996, as he was a midfielder wrongly assigned a strikers number, it’s fair to leave him out of this conversation.

Here are the five worst No9s to play for Arsenal…

5. Julio Baptista: 10 goals in 35 games

Julio Baptista had little to celebrate during his days at Arsenal
Julio Baptista had little to celebrate during his days at Arsenal
Getty Images

MOVING to Arsenal in 2006, Julio Baptista, seemingly against his will, joined on a season-long loan deal that saw Juan Antonio Reyes swap with the Brazilian and join Real Madrid.

The burly, powerful forward failed to find his feet in England, managing just three goals in 24 Premier League appearances.

The League Cup was more his level, scoring six times in just three games, helping to inflate his goal record.

He would return to Real, but neither for Los Blancos, Roma or Malaga did he ever score double figures in the league.

4. Davor Suker: 10 goals in 35 games

Davor Suker didn't enjoy his finest spell of football while Arsenal's No9
Davor Suker didn't enjoy his finest spell of football while Arsenal's No9
Getty Images

ARRIVING at 31-years-old, the Croatian legend was already winding down his career when he turned up to replace Nicolas Anelka at Arsenal.

He only managed 22 league games.

In 2000 he came off the bench during extra-time of the Uefa Cup final against Galatasaray, but missed his spot-kick as the Gunners lost on penalties to the Turkish side.

He would move to West Ham United after just a season at Highbury.

3. Jose Antonio Reyes: 23 goals in 109 games

Jose Antonio Reyes was hardly prolific during his stint at Arsenal
Jose Antonio Reyes was hardly prolific during his stint at Arsenal
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PERHAPS a little harsh on the Spanish forward.

Played more as a winger, he joined in 2003 to play with Thierry Henry and give some respite for Dennis Bergkamp.

He will always be remembered as part of the amazing Invincible team of 2003-04, but he only started seven league games and scored twice.

Nine league goals in 30 games followed and then five strikes during the 2005/06 campaign, before he was loaned to Real Madrid.

2. Francis Jeffers: 7 goals in 37 games

Francis Jeffers is one of Arsene Wenger's all-time biggest flop signings
Francis Jeffers is one of Arsene Wenger's all-time biggest flop signings
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AFTER catching the eye of Wenger as a “fox in the box” for Everton, Jeffers moved to London for £8million in 2001.

But injuries and the form of Henry and Sylvain Wiltord limited his chances with the Gunners.

After two seasons, 22 appearances and four league goals, he was loaned back to Everton before joining Charlton Athletic permanently in 2004.

1. Park Chu-Young: 1 goal in 7 games

Park Chu-Young was one of the more bizarre Arsene Wenger signings
Park Chu-Young was one of the more bizarre Arsene Wenger signings
Getty Images

ONE of the most bizarre transfers in Arsenal history.

Park Chu-Young had just finished the 2010-11 season with Monaco and was their top goal-scorer with 12 goals.

But as they were relegated, the South Korean international was allowed to leave.

Arriving in Lille for a medical with the French club, he learned of Arsenal’s interest while waiting in his hotel room.

The forward jumped on the Eurostar without telling the Ligue 1 champions and signed for the Gunners.

He would score his first and only goal for the Emirates side in the League Cup and only made one Premier League appearance.

Loan spells at Celta Vigo and Watford followed, but it wasn’t until he returned home with FC Seoul that he rediscovered his shooting boots.

How he must regret answering the phone to the Arsenal boss in 2011.


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