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Playing for the SHIRT.

Byline: PAUL GORST Sport Reporter sport@liverpool.com @LIVECHOSPORT

WITH Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen already in the bag and Sandro Ramirez and Michael Keane expected to follow, Everton's exciting summer has started with a bang.

The Blues kick-started their summer dealings earlier this month when they shelled out PS54m in a day to land Pickford and Klaassen from Sunderland and Ajax respectively on June 15.

At PS30m, England Under-21 goalkeeper Pickford became the most expensive signing in the Blues history, shortly before Ajax captain Klaassen joined for a PS24m fee.

Burnley centre-back Keane has caught the eye and could become the latest big-money buy, and Malaga star Sandro will join when his stint with Spain's Under-21 side has finished.

But what squad numbers are available? We've taken a look at what numbers the Blues' incoming buys may want to take when their signings are confirmed.

4 Traditionalists amongst you will note the No.4 is usually reserved for defensive midfielders and centre-backs. The Blues have already signed deeplying playmaker Klaassen, and the ex-Ajax captain could easily take on the mantle to go alongside Olivier Dacourt and Danny Williamson.

However, the No.4 has also been worn by defenders such as Joseph Yobo, Alan Stubbs and Richard Gough, so could it could be reserved for Keane.

7 Gerard Deulofeu is the current incumbent, but after spending the second half of the season on loan at AC Milan, and reportedly attracting the attention of his former club Barcelona, the Spanish winger's days at Goodison Park appear to be numbered.

Traditionally (that word again), the No.7 is a player who excites fan; a speed-merchant winger with a trick in his locker, it'd have to be an exciting addition to the Blues squad.

Recent history with the No.7 though has been hit and miss. The last five players to wear the shirt are Andy Van der Meyde, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Nikica Jelavic, Aiden McGeady and Deulofeu.

Incoming forward Sandro could take over, but there is another number he may wish to look at first...

9 The iconic shirt number at Goodison Park - previously worn by bona-fide superstars such as Andy Gray, Gary Lineker, Duncan Ferguson, and of course, Dixie Dean.

However, recent history has been less talismanic. After 'Super' Kevin Campbell left, Everton's last four No.9s have been James Beattie, Louis Saha, Landon Donovan and Arouna Kone.

Kone has since been released, leaving the No.9 vacant. One for Sandro, perhaps? The No.13 is often reserved for back-up goalkeepers, but with Joel Robles currently holding Everton's No.1, Pickford could take it.

13 Much depends on if Robles decides to move on rather than fighting it out with Maarten Stekelenburg for the spot as reserve keeper, but should the Spaniard stay put, expect Pickford to take on 13.

15A versatile number that has been used by a range of players from Marco Materazzi to Paul Rideout, the Blues have been without a No.15 since Tom Cleverley joined Watford in January.

Cleverley's Everton exit will be confirmed this week, leaving free a squad number that has been held by the likes of Peter Beagrie, Richard Dunne and Sylvain Distin.

The number is free for a squad player who has designs on making an impact next season, perhaps? 20 Everton's No.20 was formerly held by Ross Barkley before the midfielder took No.8. Bryan Oviedo was the most recent 20 in the Blues' squad, but the Costa Rican left for Sunderland earlier this year.

Steven Pienaar and Joseph Yobo are two players who wore the shirt with distinction at Goodison Park, but it could taken over by a youngster or squad player if taken at all next season.

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Davy Klaassen could take the number 4 shirt at Everton
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 30, 2017
Words:630
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