Arsenal and the curse of the number 18 shirt?


Who will have the challenge of breaking the recent lack of success had by those wearing Arsenal's number 18 shirt?

If Arsenal are in the market for a new centre-back this summer, they may want to ensure their new man does not receive the number 18 shirt.

For the last three to wear the shirt have endured poor spells with the club, Pascal Cygan, Mikael Silvestre and Sebastien Squillaci.

While it would be overstating it to say any of the three were disastrous, none of them fulfilled the expectations in terms of quality that Arsenal fans place on the players wearing the shirt.

Cygan cost the club £2 million, playing for four seasons but was largely an understudy, and became a figure of fun among opposition fans for his poor defending, with the video below an unfortunate such example.

The shirt would lie vacant until 2008, when Mikael Silvestre was surprisingly signed from Manchester United, an excellent piece of transfer business - For the Red Devils.

While at United Silvestre played a key role during his nine years there, by time he joined Arsenal he was past his prime, and followed Cygan by becoming the second Gunners number 18 to score an own goal in the Champions League.

He was released in 2010, and there was not an Arsenal fan sorry to see him depart, becoming increasingly haphazard in his defending.

His squad place was taken later that summer by Sebastien Squillaci, a French international of the time who cost the club £4 million.

Squillaci has recently departed the club, released and signing a deal with Bastia, after a poor couple of seasons at the Emirates. In 2012/13 he played just one game, a defeat to Olympiakos.

The number 18 shirt before the trio was worn by Gilles Grimandi, Arsenal's scout, who joined in 2007 may well have played a big role in the additions of Frenchmen Silvestre and Squillaci.

The shirt presently lies vacant, and it will take a very good player to turn it's fortune around. Arsenal may be wise to leave it as it is for a little while.

What are your memories of the trio? Who was the best and who was the worst?

image: © wonker

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch