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Shirt numbers available to Rafa Silva at Arsenal

Amid reports that Arsenal are closing in on Benfica winger Rafa Silva, Sports Mole looks at the shirt numbers available to the Portugal international.

Arsenal are reportedly hopeful of striking a deal with Benfica for talented winger Rafa Silva.

The 27-year-old chalked up nine goals and six assists in 25 appearances prior to the season being curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Unsurprisingly given his form this season, Benfica are believed to be holding out for £71.3m, though that may change in the first transfer window since the spread of COVID-19.

Despite interest from a host of other clubs, including Newcastle United, Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Gunners are said to be leading the chase for his signature.

With that in mind, Sports Mole looks at the shirt numbers available to Silva should he make the switch to the Emirates Stadium.

Rafa Silva pictured in January 2020© Reuters

Silva joined Benfica in 2016 and has worn the number 27 shirt in all four seasons since.

That number is currently available at Arsenal following Konstantinos Mavropanos's move to Nuremberg in January, albeit on an initial loan deal.

The Portugal international previously played with '18' on his back at Braga and '26' in his early days with Feirense.

Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal celebrates scoring against West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium on August 25, 2018© Reuters

Silva has a free run at the 18 shirt, which has been unoccupied since Nacho Monreal's departure last year, while '26' is currently held by back-up goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

At international level, meanwhile, the Feirense youth product has worn a few different numbers, most recently 15, which is held by Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

In terms of other possible options for the Portuguese attacker, he may be tempted to go for the seven shirt should he move to North London, freed up by Henrikh Mkhitaryan's exit.

'Eleven' is the other number best associated with wide midfield players of Silva's calibre, and that could soon be up for grabs as Lucas Torreira's future is in doubt.

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Rafa Silva pictured in January 2020
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