Monday, September 26, 2022
HomePremier LeagueCristiano Ronaldo deal could hand William Saliba a dream scenario at Arsenal...

Cristiano Ronaldo deal could hand William Saliba a dream scenario at Arsenal – just on one condition

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William Saliba was given the number 12 shirt ahead of the 2022/23 season, but that could change if Arsenal agrees to terminate Hector Bellerin's contract.

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Cristiano Ronaldo deal could hand William Saliba a dream scenario at Arsenal – just on one condition

If William Saliba changes his squad number at Arsenal before the summer transfer window closes, he will be grateful to Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 2022/23 Premier League season began on Friday night. 

The Gunners’ 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace was significant for the Frenchman for several reasons, including the fact that he was given his competitive debut three years after joining the club and delivered a man-of-the-match performance.

Furthermore, Saliba had the number 12 on the back of his Arsenal shirt, and according to Premier League rules, he will not be able to change it until the following season: ‘While he remains with the Club, a Player will retain his shirt number throughout the Season for which it was allocated,’ a statement reads.

There is, however, an exception to this rule.

When Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United last summer, Premier League officials granted Edinson Cavani a special dispensation to allow the Portuguese superstar to continue wearing the iconic number.

This agreement was reached after the Red Devils had played their first three games of the 2021/22 season, and after the Uruguayan had appeared as a substitute against Wolves around 48 hours before Ronaldo officially completed his return to Old Trafford on transfer deadline day.

As a result, if Saliba wishes to change his squad number in the coming weeks after seemingly hinting last month upon his return to London Colney for pre-season training that he would like to wear his dream no. 2 shirt this season, this is a route he could take.

Of course, much depends on what happens with Hector Bellerin.

The defender currently wears the number two shirt at Arsenal, but speculation about a return to Real Betis continues, with transfer expert Fabrizio Romano revealing the latest on the Spaniard’s future.

“Hector Bellerin’s agent is in London today as he met with Arsenal board, been told meeting took place in the morning,” he wrote on Twitter

“Discussions ongoing to terminate the contract #AFC. Bellerin [has] asked to return to Real Betis as soon as possible, it’s his priority.”

So, if Bellerin’s contract is terminated – something Arsenal technical director Edu has already admitted is a possibility – the number two shirt will become vacant immediately, and Saliba will have the opportunity to inherit it, but only if the Gunners are granted special dispensation if a request for a squad number change is made.

Cristiano Ronaldo deal could hand William Saliba a dream scenario at Arsenal – just on one condition

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