Granit Xhaka will wear the No 34 shirt for Arsenal next season after the midfielder switched from No 29 ahead of the upcoming 2018-19 campaign.
And Xhaka has marked his shirt number change by getting 34 tattooed on both his back and arm ahead of the new season, insisting the figure is significant to him.
In an instagram post, Xhaka wrote: ‘The number 34 has a big significance for me. It was my first number as a professional and it’s always brought me luck. I’ve even got the number tattooed on my back and on my arm.’
Xhaka wore No 29 for the first two seasons of his Arsenal career having joined from German side Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2016.
Xhaka’s new No 34 shirt for next campaign
But Xhaka will now sport the number he wore at his hometown club Basel in Switzerland where he began his professional career. He also wore No 34 for Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga.
His brother Taulant, who represents Albania at international level, now wears Granit’s old No 34 shirt at Basel.
The Arsenal No 34 was initially occupied by Francis Coquelin when Xhaka arrived but has been vacant since the Frenchman’s departure to Valencia in January.
Three other Arsenal players have switched shirt numbers for the upcoming season. Goalkeeper Petr Cech has assumed the No 1 shirt, Hector Bellerin taking the traditional right back No 2 and Mohamed Elneny changing from 35 to 4.
The No 4 was previously worn by Per Mertesacker but the German defender has now retired and will move into Arsenal’s academy as a coach.
Xhaka has endured an inconsistent time in his two seasons at the Emirates and was heavily criticised for his performance in the recent 2-1 loss to Manchester United.
Graeme Souness described Xhaka as playing kids football when he was spotted adjusting his shin-pads and neglecting to track Paul Pogba for United’s opener.
Xhaka is off to the World Cup in Russia this summer with Switzerland, who he wears No 10 for. They have been drawn into a group with Brazil, Serbia and Costa Rica.
When he returns he will be playing under a new manager with the former PSG boss Unai Emery expected to be confirmed as Arsene Wenger’s successor this week.
Arsenal were expected to appoint their former player Mikel Arteta as the new boss but Emery emerged as a late option and is now set to take over at the Emirates.
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