Arsenal’s best No.10s ranked and rated including Ozil, Bergkamp and Merson

Emile Smith Rowe became the latest to wear the iconic Arsenal jersey – here we try to rank the best in the club’s history and offer you the chance to vote for yours

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When Emile Smith Rowe was handed Arsenal’s iconic No.10 shirt at the start of the season, he followed in the footsteps of Gunners great and good.

While there have been some forgettable stints in the shirt (looking at you William Gallas and Anders Limpar), a number of the club’s best ever players have worn it in recent years.

We’ve taken a look at five of the last six Arsenal 10s – sorry Ian Selley – and had a go at ranking them for their contributions to the club.

You will have the chance to have your say, by voting in the survey below. Also, let us know your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

5. Mesut Ozil (18/19 and 19/20)

Ozil’s best times for the club came before he was given the No.10

The mercurial German’s Arsenal career can almost be perfectly divided by his time before and after being given the 10.

Whilst wearing 12, Ozil helped Arsenal to three FA Cups and a Community Shield, whilst also landing the club’s Player of the Season Award in 2015/16.

It was only when he switched numbers that it all started to go wrong, in 2018/19, he was still a regular as the Gunners reached the Europa League final.

But under Arteta he was surplus to requirements and barely played before leaving in January.

4. Jack Wilshere (12/13-17/18)

Wilshere, like Smith Rowe was handed the 10, after progressing from academy graduate to first-team regular.

But cruelly, injuries hampered his chances of ever making the shirt truly his own.

The former England international’s best season came in 2010/11 and while he still won two trophies in the shirt, his Gunners career is a major ‘what if?’.

3. Robin van Persie (10/11 and 11/12)

Van Persie was prolific in his two seasons in the shirt



Had he played for longer in the shirt, he could reasonably expect to be a little higher.

In his two seasons as Arsenal’s No.10, Van Persie scored 59 goals, including 30 Premier League strikes in 11/12.

He unquestionably deserved to win a trophy in those two campaigns, winning the Golden Boot twice, as well as scooping the PFA Player of the Year award in 2012.

His departure for Manchester United left a sour taste, particularly after he instantly guided them to the title.

2. Paul Merson (88/89 – 96/97)

Paul Merson was brilliant during his time at the Gunners

Recently known more for his punditry faux pas, Merson was a footballer of prodigious talent and he showed those abilities most regularly during his Gunners years.

Aged 21, the midfielder played a key role in George Graham’s side as they won the First Division title in dramatic circumstances at Anfield.

Merson netted 10 times that season, winning the PFA Young Player of the Year at the end of the season.

He then helped the Gunners to another league title the following season, as well as an FA Cup, a League Cup and a European Cup Winners’ Cup.

1. Dennis Bergkamp (95/96 – 05/06)

Voted the second greatest player in the club’s history, the ‘non-flying Dutchman’ is the only correct answer to this dilemma.

His arrival is often touted as the most important in Arsenal’s recent history, helping to change the style following Graham’s departure.

Bergkamp was voted the club’s second best player in their history


Daily Mirror)

Initially signed by Bruce Rioch, it was under Arsene Wenger where he became one of the Premier League’s best ever.

In 97/98 he was Arsenal’s standout player as they won the first of two doubles during his time with the club.

He would win another in 01/02, before being involved in the legendary unbeaten season in 03/04.

In total, he ended his Arsenal career with 120 goals, but his influence went far beyond what was registered on the scoresheet.

His glorious statue outside the Emirates is testament to that.

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