HomePREMIER LEAGUEManchester United's No.7 Dilemma: Deadline Looms for Trio to Settle Shirt Dispute

Manchester United’s No.7 Dilemma: Deadline Looms for Trio to Settle Shirt Dispute

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Manchester United’s No.7 Dilemma: Deadline Looms for Trio to Settle Shirt Dispute

Man United will look to replace Cristiano Ronaldo in more ways than one this summer.

Manchester United is set to undergo another summer of transition. There could be new owners, new signings, and a new captain, as well as the opportunity to say goodbye to players who are no longer needed.

There are also numerous minor adjustments to be made. Erik ten Hag may make tactical changes to his setup, as well as look to freshen up his squad by promoting youngsters or integrating players who have shone on loan.

Then there’s the job of selecting the squad numbers, which may seem insignificant at first but could play a role in their chances of success next season.

The famed No.7 shirt, which has been vacant since Cristiano Ronaldo left the club late last year, is at the top of the list. It is arguably the most famous shirt number in all of world football, and has the ability to build a player’s entire brand, such as with ‘CR7’.

The word conjures up images of Old Trafford legends George Best, Eric Cantona, and David Beckham. However, for every shining star, there is someone who has fallen short of expectations.

Michael Owen, Memphis Depay, and Angel di Maria were all unable to cope with the demands of the number, while the pressure of the shirt was so intense that Antonio Valencia requested his old number back, such was his demise after only one season. So, while it may appear to be just a shirt number, Ten Hag will make a big call this summer to select a player worthy of wearing it, someone he believes will thrive under pressure rather than wilt.

There appear to be two leading candidates right now, and they have two months left in the season to make their case.

Antony appears to be the favorite right now, given his obvious star quality and self-belief to live up to those lofty expectations. The 23-year-old is the club’s second most expensive signing in history and is clearly a key part of Ten Hag’s plans for the future, though there will be a demand for a more consistent output from him.

After a solid debut season, it’s only natural for expectations to rise for him next season, and adding the shirt number to his back could be the ultimate litmus test for how prepared he truly is for the role.

Jadon Sancho is another candidate for the shirt number, but the general consensus is that he would have to earn it, which he has yet to do. The 22-year-old has shown flashes of great promise during his time at United, but he has struggled for consistency and has yet to secure a starting spot under Ten Hag.

Given his uncertain future at the club, giving him such a desirable shirt number would certainly be a gamble, but backing him with it could also give him the confidence and self-belief to bring out the best in him.

Alejandro Garnacho, a teenage sensation, is one player who exudes confidence. The 18-year-old is a wildcard candidate to become Manchester United’s new No.7, and he has shown enough star quality to suggest he has what it takes.

Garnacho idolized Ronaldo during their time at the club, and his own style of play bore many similarities to the Portuguese forward when he first arrived.

Ronaldo had requested to wear the No.28 shirt when he moved from Sporting in 2004, but Sir Alex Ferguson persuaded him to do so because he believed he could add to the legendary lineage. Ten Hag could do the same with Garnacho.

Alternatively, the number could go to a new signing or someone already on the team. Few would object if playmaker Christian Eriksen requested the shirt number, and he has already demonstrated the ability to do so in his first season at the club.

Ten Hag certainly has a lot of options, and they only have two months to make a decision for him.

Manchester United’s No.7 Dilemma: Deadline Looms for Trio to Settle Shirt Dispute

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