Today, we bring to you a list of Top 5 players who wore the No. 10 shirt for Arsenal. A kit number that has been worn by the likes of Maradona, Pele, Zlatan and Messi is a one that adds prestige to any player who wears it regardless of his side.
Arsenal, no matter their trophy drought of about nine years, have fielded some of the most remarkable players during their pursuit of silverware. Now, after achieving two consecutive FA Cup titles, the sleeping giants seem to be awaking at last! Standing at the 2nd position in the league table, The Gunners are in tremendous form and spirit.
Here is a list for the players who have played in the No.10 role of a play-maker for the Gooners.
In the June of 1995, Arsenal bought an established starlet for about £7.5m, expecting much from him and going out to break their then held transfer fee record. This star was Dennis Bergkamp. When he first set his boots on the pitch for the English side, he struggled to adjust into the fast and rough fashion of game-play the country holds. This drew concern from the board and ridicule from the press and public.
However, it wasn’t long before Bergkamp started proving his worth. In his 3rd season at the club, Dennis became the club’s top scorer with a tally of 22 goals.
In subsequent seasons to come, Bergkamp had already set himself up as an instrumental part of the team, winning the 2001-02 Premier league and FA Cup and scoring the famous ‘flick and turn goal’ against Newcastle in March.
A couple of years later in 2003-04, he was a key man of the team dubbed as “The Invincibles”.
He retired at the end of 2006 after the first match on the new home pitch, with 3 Premier League titles, 4 FA cups and 3 FA Community Shield in his pocket. He also won the FIFA World Player Of The Year twice.
A home-bred right winger, Paul Merson spent the majority of his career playing in the Premier League ( then called Football League First Division). During 1985 to 2003, he gave 12 years of that time to Arsenal, appearing for them in a whopping 423 games.
He won the League title 2 times and FA cup, League Cup, FA Community Shield and UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup once. He had a somewhat dramatic end to his time at Arsenal when in 1994 he admitted to being an alcoholic and cocaine and gambling addict. He was fielded in the side on a regular basis in the following couple of years. But after the debut year of Arsene Wenger as manager, he was, to the surprise of most, sold to Middlesbrough in a £4.5million deal.
The holder of number 10 shirt in the current squad of Arsenal is 23-year old Jack Wilshere. Wilshere was selected for the first team from the Arsenal Academy in 2008.
Being fielded against Blackburn Rovers in September, he became Arsenal’s youngest-ever league debut, breaking a record previously set by Cesc Fabregas. He also became the fifth sixteen year old to play in the Champions League.
Popular for his eye-catching movement with the ball, Jack can tackle anything a midfielder is required to do. He has drawn appreciation from a variety of names that have successfully made it to glory in their own careers. Steven Gerrard once spoke of him as a complete midfielder who could tackle the ball and go forward and be creative with it.
At just 23, the Englishman has appeared for Arsenal in over 150 games and holds potential to be listed among legends not only for the club but also the country. The Englishman played his first senior international game in 2010, at the age of just 18 years.
Robin van Persie started his senior career at the Dutch side of Feyenoord. He spent 3 years at the club that reached the 2002 UEFA Super Cup final, before falling out with the manager, which saw his move to Arsenal possible in 2004. However following in the footsteps of compatriot Dennis Bergkamp to a giant club from a relatively small Dutch side, Persie did differ to the former sensation.
He spent the majority of his debut season warming the bench and only settling into form in the next season. Although Wenger brought the young Dutchman to convert his left winger position to a center forward, It was in 2007, 3 years after his arrival that after departure of Henry to Barcelona, did Persie assume the role of the main striker.
Having made about 270 appearances for Arsenal and scoring 132 goals in the process, he came close to winning the Premier League numerous times.
An excellent target man as he was, he also among the precious players that carried the team through a dark phase of trophy drought and financial troubles after shifting to the newly built 90,000 capacity stadium.
In July 2012 Robin van Persie announced that he will not be signing a new contract with Arsenal, a team he spent 8 years with. He moved to Manchester United the very next month for a fee of £22.5m, with an additional of £1.5m if Manchester United were to win the Premier League or The Champions League title anytime in the next four years.
Frank Stapleton a prolific 6-ft tall forward who started his career in 1972 with the Arsenal side and went on to score 108 times for the Gunners. Spending in total 7 years at the north London side, he formed a compelling partnership with Malcolm Macdonald. Macdonald who had kick started his career as a full back now played as a supporting striker and helped Stapleton secure the top scorer for Arsenal for consecutive three years.
The Irish won a FA cup with Arsenal before making his move to Manchester united in 1981.