Few shirt numbers come with such prestige as the iconic number 10.
Greats of the game have all adorned the shirt for club or country respectively, and whilst other numbers each have their own illustrious history, perhaps no shirt has such historic mystique as the ten shirt.
Usually attributed to a creative or forward player, Premier League icons such as Dennis Bergkamp, Wayne Rooney and Eden Hazard have all been previous occupants, but how do the current players compare?
We’ve decided to look at some Premier League number tens, and rate each of the current shirt holders amongst the top six clubs…
Arsenal – Mesut Ozil
Signed in a club-record deal from Real Madrid, hopes were high that the arrival of the German midfielder could see Arsenal challenge once more for major honours after some lean years in North London.
Whilst Ozil has shown flashes of brilliance during his six season stay at the Emirates, those moments have proved few and far between and he remains a divisive figure amongst the club’s fanbase.
Ozil has won three FA Cups since moving to the Premier League, though his finest season came in 2015/16 when he came within one assist of breaking Thierry Henry’s record for goals provided in a single season, being named Arsenal’s Player of the Season in the process.
A player of undoubted talent, only Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne has reached 50 Premier League assists quicker than Ozil, who remains a creative force at his very best.
In recent times he has fallen out-of-favour under Unai Emery and has been ostracised from the first-team picture at the club, with major doubts surrounding the long-term future of the highest-paid player in the club’s history.
Mesut Ozil’s assist against Liverpool is a thing of beauty.
You can’t teach that. pic.twitter.com/RxYLI9TYvG
— Football HQ (@FootbaII_HQ) October 30, 2019
Chelsea – Willian
The Brazilian international inherited the number ten shirt following Eden Hazard’s summer departure to Real Madrid, the number a reward following several successful seasons at Stamford Bridge.
Arriving from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013, Willian has played a key role in two Premier League title successes, as well as helping Chelsea to FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League triumphs.
Both creative and industrious, the winger remains an influential figure at the club and his experience will prove invaluable as Frank Lampard develops his emerging young talent at Chelsea.
No terms have yet been offered over an extension to his deal which is set to expire next summer, though should he depart after six seasons he will be remembered fondly by the Chelsea faithful.
Willian for Chelsea this season. (All comps)
12 Games played (818 mins)
29 Successful Dribbles
20 Key Passes
23 long balls
16 Tackles pic.twitter.com/XajET4AeTS
— CFC Stats (@CFCStats1) October 29, 2019
Liverpool – Sadio Mane
Liverpool’s electric forward swapped his number 19 shirt for the famed 10 following Philippe Coutinho’s departure to Barcelona, where has continued to thrive as part of a a formidable frontline alongside Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Mane has elevated his game in each of his three seasons on Merseyside since joining from Southampton, culminating in the Senegal star winning a share of the Premier League’s Golden Boot after firing 22 league goals last season.
The 27-year-old is amongst the nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or after also helping Liverpool to Champions League success, and the forward is now regarded as one of the elite attacking talents in European football.
Twice named in the PFA Team of the Year since moving to Anfield, Mane has scored 50 Premier League goals in just 102 appearances for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Manchester City – Sergio Aguero
If Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero is not the best number ten in the Premier League, his list of achievements in the division is certainly unrivalled in comparison to the other contenders on this list.
Since arriving at the Etihad from Atletico Madrid in 2011, Aguero has been part of four title-winning sides and helped establish the Manchester side amongst the elite in English football.
It was the Argentinean’s late goal which secured the title for City in dramatic fashion at the end of that debut season, in arguably the most iconic moment of the Premier League era.
No player has ever scored more than Aguero’s 241 goals in all competitions for the club, whilst only Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Andy Cole, Frank Lampard and Thierry Henry have more in Premier League history, though the latter two will surely be overtaken this season with the forward within five goals of both.
Only Thierry Henry has ever matched Aguero’s feat of scoring 20+ goals in five consecutive seasons, though Aguero looks set to own the record outright by achieving a sixth after hitting eight goals in his first six starts of the new season.
📊| Aguero Stats:
Since his Manchester City debut in August 2011, Sergio Aguero has been directly involved in 314 goals in 350 appearances in all competitions.
👕 Games 350
⚽️ Goals 243
🅰️ Assists 71
City’s all-time Top Goalscorer! 👑 pic.twitter.com/bimgesQCMB
— City Chief (@City_Chief) October 29, 2019
Manchester United – Marcus Rashford
Manchester United’s homegrown hero is the current occupant of the club’s famous number ten shirt, a number previously owned by iconic figures such as Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Denis Law.
The 21-year-old burst onto the scene as a teenager four seasons ago, and has already scored 50 goals for the club in 183 appearances. Blessed with electric pace and an ability to carry the ball, the youngster still has many aspects of his game to improve but looks set to be a first-team fixture at Old Trafford for seasons to come.
Arguably the face of the club having come through the academy during a transitional era, Rashford has already helped the club to FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League success, and will hope to play a key role as the club look to return to challenging for silverware in the coming years.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 31, 2019
Tottenham – Harry Kane
‘He’s one of our own’ or so the popular terrace chant is sung by Tottenham supporters, who idolise the prolific forward currently wearing the club’s number ten shirt.
A two-time Golden Boot winner, Kane has plundered a remarkable 174 goals in just 266 appearances since breaking through as a first-team regular at the North London side.
Kane’s goals have been crucial to the club establishing themselves as Champions League regulars, though silverware has remained elusive thus far for the England captain.
Named in the PFA Team of the Year on four occasions, Kane is widely regarded as one of Europe’s leading forwards, though he will need Spurs to prove they can challenge for major honours if he is to fulfil his ambitions at the club.
Few have produced more for the club in recent seasons, however, the 26-year-old will have to help his side to a first major honour in over a decade to receive full marks in our ratings.