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Bernd Leno wanted the No.19 shirt at Arsenal because he was 19 years old when he made his first-team debut at Bayer Leverkusen. The goalkeeper was tipped to take over the No.1 jersey from Petr Cech, but the veteran stopper has kept hold of his shirt. Leno is expected to push Cech out of Unai Emery’s starting eleven after completing a £20million move from the Bundesliga this summer
Arsenal confirmed on Monday Leno would be handed the No.19 shirt, because it has specific significance for the German. June 19 was the date Leno joined Arsenal and the 26-year-old is set to link up with his new team-mates for the first time next week. Leno was given extra time off for pre-season and takes over the No.19 from one of Arsenal’s most loved players.
Santi Cazorla was the last Gunner to don the number, while Jack Wilshere and Gilberto Silva previously wore the shirt. Leno wore the No.1 jersey at Leverkusen, but may have to wait a while before claiming the same number at Arsenal. Cech has dismissed talk of exiting the club due to Leno’s arrival, and intends to remain at Arsenal.
The 36-year-old’s reputation at Arsenal among fans has gradually decreased in recent seasons. Cech made several high profile errors last season in what was a dismal campaign for the Gunners as they finished sixth in the Premier League. Emery has moved to cure the malaise in Arsenal’s squad with the addition of several new faces and the Gunners are expected to complete two more signings this week as Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi undergo medicals on Monday.