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The last 9 players to wear Arsenal's 'cursed number 9 shirt' - Who were they?

9:00 AM IST 05/08/22
Arsenal 'Number 9' GFX
Can new recruit Gabriel Jesus finally lift the 'curse' from Arsenal's infamous number 9 shirt?

The number nine jersey is considered to be one of the most coveted jerseys. It is generally handed to the lead striker at a club.

Great players like Ronaldo (Brazilian), Gabriel Batistuta, Robert Lewandowski, Bobby Charlton, Fernando Torres and Alfredo Di Stefano have donned the number nine shirts for their clubs and countries and have made the number an iconic one. But when it comes to Arsenal, the number nine shirt is often considered a cursed one.

Since 1998, when Croatian forward Davor Suker joined the club and took the number nine shirt, players who have worn the number have not really excelled at the club. From Julio Baptista and Eduardo to Alexandre Lacazette the number 9s of the Gunners could not reach the heights they were expected to reach. Eduardo's case though was unfortunate as he had started his Arsenal career brightly before a serious injury derailed him.

There are of course exceptions to this norm as players like Lukas Podolski did well while donning the number 9 shirt of Arsenal.

New signing Gabriel Jesus will be donning the shirt in the upcoming season after Lacazette's departure from the club this summer and Arsenal fans will hope that the curse gets over soon so that the Brazilian can deliver. The former Manchester City man has already scored seven goals in five pre-season matches which includes a hat-trick against Sevilla.

  • Alexandre Lacazette Arsenal Premier League 2021-22

    #1 Alexandre Lacazette

    The French forward joined Arsenal in 2017 for a then club record transfer fee of €53m plus €7m add-ons. He appeared in 206 matches for the Gunners where he scored 71 goals in five years. During his time with Arsenal, he won two titles, FA Cup 2019/20 and 2017 Community Shield.

    Stint: 2017-2022

    Trophies: FA Cup (1), Community Shield (1)

    Verdict: AVERAGE

  • Lucas Perez Arsenal

    #2 Lucas Perez

    The Spanish forward’s stay with Arsenal was short-lived as he spent just one season at the club. He joined in 2016 and scored only seven goals in 21 appearances. Ahead of the 2017/18 season he was sent on loan to Deportivo La Coruna and was then sold to West Ham in 2018.

    Stint: 2016-2018

    Trophy: FA Cup (1)

    Verdict: FLOP

  • Lukas Podolski Arsenal

    #3 Lukas Podolski

    One of the best players to have donned Arsenal’s number 9 shirt in the 21st century is German winger Lukas Podolski. He joined the club in 2012 and spent two and half years at the club. In January 2015 he was sent on loan to Inter Milan for half a season and was sold ahead of the 2015/16 campaign. In the 82 matches he appeared for Arsenal, Podolski scored 31 goals and was an integral part of Arsenal's 2013/14 FA Cup winning side.

    Stint: 2012-2015

    Trophy: FA Cup (1)

    Verdict: HIT

  • Park Chu-Young Arsenal

    #4 Park Chu-Young

    The South Korean joined Arsenal in 2011 and stayed until 2014 but in those three seasons, he had a couple of loan spells. He appeared in just seven matches for the club in one and half seasons and scored just one goal.

    Stint: 20111-2014

    Trophy: None

    Verdict: FLOP

  • Eduardo Arsenal 2009

    #5 Eduardo

    The Brazil-born Croatia international had an impressive start to his Arsenal career as in his maiden season in 2007, he notched up 12 goals in 31 appearances. Unfortunately, due to a horror injury after a clash with Birmingham City’s Martin Taylor, broke his leg and was sidelined for an entire season. He did return to action in 2009 but he was no more the player he used to be after coming back from the horrific injury. In 2010, he was sold to Shakhtar Donetsk. Eduardo appeared in 67 matches for Arsenal where he scored 21 goals.

    Stint: 2007-2010

    Trophy: None

    Verdict: AVERAGE

  • Julio Baptista Arsenal

    #6 Julio Baptista

    The Brazilian forward had spent just one season on loan from Real Madrid during the 2006/07 campaign. He scored 10 goals in 35 matches for the Gunners which include just three goals in the Premier League.

    Stint: 2006/07

    Trophy: None

    Verdict: FLOP

  • Jose Antonio Reyes Arsenal

    #7 Jose Antonio Reyes

    The late Spanish winger played at Arsenal for three seasons from 2004 to 2007 where he appeared in 110 matches and scored 23 goals. He was part of Arsenal’s historic ‘Invincibles’ squad and had also played a crucial role in the Gunners reaching the final of the Champions League in 2006. Other than the Premier League, he also won the FA Cup in the 2004/05 season and the Community Shield in 2004. Reyes was not a striker in its traditional sense at Arsenal. He was more of a winger.

    Stint: 2004-2007

    Trophy: Premier League (1), FA Cup (1), Community Shield (1)

    Verdict: HIT

  • Francis Jeffers Arsenal

    #8 Francis Jeffers

    The English forward joined Arsenal in 2001 and remained at the club until 2004. During his final season with the club, Jeffers was sent on loan to his boyhood club Everton. Jeffers’ stint with the Gunners was plagued with injuries as in two years, the forward managed to play just 39 matches for the club and scored eight goals. He won two FA Cups during his stint at Arsenal.

    Stint: 2001-2004

    Trophy: FA Cup (2)

    Verdict: FLOP

  • Davor Suker Arsenal

    #9 Davor Suker

    A year after Croatia’s historic performance at the 1998 FIFA World Cup - where they finished third - Croatia star Davor Suker joined Arsenal from Real Madrid. He spent just one season at the North London club before heading to West Ham in 2000. In the only season he donned the Arsenal shirt, Suker scored 11 goals in 39 matches.

    Stint: 1999/00

    Trophy: None

    Verdict: FLOP