William Saliba’s leaked Arsenal shirt number suggests 27-year-old Gunners star could leave Emirates – Reports

Arsenal defender William Saliba’s leaked shirt number suggests Hector Bellerin could be set to depart the north London club.

Saliba, 21, has returned to the Emirates following a highly successful loan spell at Marseille. The French defender was named Ligue 1’s ‘Young Player of the Year’ for his impressive campaign in the French league. The young Gunners centre-back made 36 league appearances at the Stade Velodrome.

Express reports that a leak on the Premier League’s official website suggests the Frenchman could be donning the number 4 shirt next season.

That could mean Bellerin’s time at the Emirates Stadium is up, as it’s the Spanish defender’s shirt number.

The 27-year-old right-back was out on loan at Real Betis last season, but there has been uncertainty over his long-term future at Arsenal. The Spaniard has just a year left to run on his current deal with the Gunners and is reportedly being tracked by Atletico Madrid and Villarreal.

He made 32 appearances for Betis last season, contributing five assists, and could be set to extend his stay in La Liga. Bellerin is currently training with the Gunners squad for pre-season. However, with Saliba’s shirt number for next season having been leaked, there are doubts if he would remain in north London.

Mikel Arteta has too many right-back options at Arsenal

Tomiyasu has impressed for the Gunners.
Tomiyasu has impressed for the Gunners.

Arsenal signed Takehiro Tomiyasu from Fiorientina last summer, and the Japanese right-back impressed in his debut season for the Gunners.

The 23-year-old made 23 appearances across competitions and earned praise for his consistency and defensive nous. However, Tomiyasu did endure injury issues during the campaign, meaning Cedric Soares had to deputise for the Japanese defender on many occasions.

Soares, 30, had been somewhat of an outcast at the Emirates before Tomiyasu’s injury problems but performed admirably when called upon. The Portuguese right-back made 26 appearances last season, scoring a goal and contributing three assists.

He arrived at Arsenal from Southampton on loan in January 2020 before joining as a free agent that same summer. With both Tomiyasu and Cedric vying for the starting berth as Arteta’s first-choice right-back, that leaves Bellerin potentially struggling for game time.

Both Tomiyasu and Cedric are signings made by the Spanish manager, and that could be a factor, which could play a role in Bellerin’s future.

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