Why Swansea’s new signings’ shirt numbers are causing so much controversy
Renato Sanches and Wilfried Bony’s number choices trod on some toes…
Swansea’s last-gasp swoop for Renato Sanches was perhaps the coup of transfer deadline day – but it’s the Portuguese midfielder’s shirt number which had the fans talking.
The highly-rated 20-year-old arrives in Wales on a season-long loan from Bayern Munich, thanks to manager Paul Clement’s connections as former assistant manager at the Allianz Arena.
Arriving on British turf wasn’t plain sailing for Sanches though, as his intriguing preference for his kit number to be 85 was rejected by the Premier League.
Well, 35 kinda looks like 85 – right?
According to the Swans, the Premier League said squad numbers must be consecutive and close to the highest number.
The #PL rule that squad numbers must be consecutive and close to the current highest number. We're still going ahead with the transfer!— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 31, 2017
Despite the club saying the transfer would indeed be going ahead regardless, some fans were keen to make sure Sanches was kept happy.
Just sign 40-50 players quickly— Glau• (@BeardardoSilva) August 31, 2017
Nah, assign squad numbers to everyone at the club. Should get close to 85 somewhere in the younger academy sides!— Denis (@AlienDenzil85) August 31, 2017
Others thought there was another reason for the Premier League’s refusal.
Pleased to hear that Renato Sanchez has been denied the shirt number 85 by the Prem on the grounds that "it's getting bloody ridiculous now"— Ben Barrett (@benbarrett10) August 31, 2017
It’s not surprising Swans fans are keen to keep the youngster happy, however.
Despite his age, Sanches was part of the Portugal side which won Euro 2016 and made 17 league appearances for Bayern last season as they won the Bundesliga.
Swansea were busy before the deadline, also re-signing Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony from Manchester City – adding to what now looks to be a pretty strong squad for Clement to work with.
We'll go wild, wild, wild... pic.twitter.com/JljASfbhEz— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 31, 2017
And just wait, the squad number madness doesn’t stop there.
Despite playing up front, and despite the number 9 shirt being available following the Swans’ sale of Fernando Llorente to Tottenham, Bony will wear the number 2 jersey.
Canny believe the PL won't let Sanchez wear 85 but will let Bony wear number 2. A striker wearing number 2 is a crime.— Andrew Valentine (@Gunz04) August 31, 2017
#BREAKING Premier League season cancelled after Wilfried Bony decides to wear the number two shirt at Swansea.— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) August 31, 2017
Speaking with his club’s website Bony said his number choice was due to the nature of it being his second spell at Swansea.
“It’s a special number for me,” he added. “It’s the second time I am at the club, hence I wanted to wear number two, and I want to achieve more for the team.”
Not everyone was convinced by that reasoning though.
Bony has taken the number 2 shirt at Swansea, despite 9 being available?— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) August 31, 2017
They've 100% done that because the PL didn't let Renato have 85
Well Wilfried, you better go out and prove them wrong.