Arsenal are reportedly closing in on the signing of Declan Rice – but they may have a dilemma when it comes to deciding on his new shirt number.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein reported on Tuesday night that Arsenal and West Ham have finally agreed on a payment structure for the deal, which was one of the few remaining sticking points.

The Gunners will pay £105 million for Rice, with that figure to be paid in three instalments over a period of 24 months.

Rice has now been given permission to travel to the Emirates Stadium to finalise personal terms and complete a medical.

Once the final formalities are done, the 24-year-old will become the most expensive English player in history, surpassing the £100 million fee that Manchester City paid to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa in 2021.

Rice currently wears the number 41 shirt at West Ham – but Arsenal may have to break one of their rules in order to give their new signing the same number.

Arsenal may need to break unwritten rule over Rice

The England international’s current number has already been taken by young forward Mika Biereth, who is yet to make his senior debut for Arsenal after joining them from Fulham’s academy in 2021.

The Danish forward has regularly appeared at age group level for the Gunners, though, hence the fact that he has been given such a high number by the club.



As per journalist Jeorge Bird, founder of website Arsenal Youth, the Gunners do not generally allow first team players to wear numbers over 36.

The highest number currently worn by a senior Arsenal player is Oleksandr Zinchenko, who kept the 35 shirt he wore at Manchester City. Granit Xhaka, meanwhile, has number 34.

Therefore, if Arsenal want to give Rice number 41, they will have to break their own unwritten rule in order to make that happen.

Alternatively, numbers 17, 22 or 26 are available and are other options for the West Ham star, as well as the number 28.


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