When Cristiano Ronaldo left the club in November of last year, there was a lot of speculation around which player would take on the famous number seven shirt at Manchester United.
There is still the potential for a new signing to take the jersey in the summer, but several current Reds will already have their eye on it.
It is a famous shirt at Old Trafford, and like it or not, the player who takes on the digit will be under more scrutiny than they would be with any other number on their back.
However, pressure is certainly a privilege and whoever does take it on will be the latest in a long line of players to don the infamous jersey.
The number is so significant at United that Ronaldo was given special dispensation by the Premier League to take the shirt from Edison Cavani after the start of the 2021/22 season.
There is an argument to say a lot of that was down to the player – rather than the jersey – but it shows the top league in the country were content to make the necessary arrangements for the Reds to have a No.7 in their ranks
One of the first-team stars that has been heavily tipped to be handed the number is Alejandro Garnacho. The 18-year-old Argentine signed a new five-year contract on Friday – committing his future to the club until 2028.
The attacker, who currently wears the number 49, has missed the last seven weeks with an ankle injury, but that hasn’t stopped United supporters getting excited about seeing him back on the pitch soon.
Shortly after his new deal was confirmed, Garnacho seemingly indicated he would like to take on the vacant number seven jersey next season. His ‘hint’ was far from subtle, with the youngster simply liking a tweet on Twitter, which read: “Give Garnacho the 7 shirt.”
The Reds ace made his intentions clear; he wants to be United’s new number seven. He is certainly an option, and the decision to hand him the famous shirt would more than likely go down well with supporters.
It would be a similar feeling to when Ronaldo was given the digit, which would be exciting for everyone associated with the club.
However, given Garnacho is still only 18 – and has made just 10 starts for the first-team – it would arguably be a bold call to hand him the shirt. With that in mind, MEN Sport looked at three different players who could become United’s new No.7 ahead of next season…
If Jadon Sancho would have enjoyed a more productive campaign, he would probably be the leading candidate to take on the number seven jersey. He wore the number during his time in Germany with Borussia Dortmund and many felt he would eventually go on to become United’s new No.7 in the coming years.
However, with the England international having endured a difficult season on a personal level, it would raise eyebrows to ‘reward’ the 23-year-old with a squad number upgrade.
Sancho has registered just six goals and two assists in all competitions this season, and he missed several matches while training on his own away from the first-team.
The winger would be the first person to tell you that it has been a disappointing year or so, but he has, on occasions, shown glimpses of being able to rediscover the form he showed at Dortmund.
He will almost certainly get another season to prove his worth to Erik ten Hag, but he will need to improve if he truly sees his future at Old Trafford.
While the Brazilian winger has never worn the number in his career – instead opting to don the No.11 at Ajax – he might be keen on taking on the responsibility of the shirt.
Antony certainly possesses the flair required and has enjoyed a better season than Sancho, so if it is indeed a competition, he might fancy his chances to win.
It remains to be seen if the 23-year-old would even want the jersey, but it would come as a surprise if he did decide to reject it in favour of his current number 21 shirt. Much like some of his teammates,
Antony will be aiming to register more goal contributions for the Reds next season, and seeing him do that with number seven on his back would go down well with the United faithful.
This would depend on whether Ten Hag is able to tempt Harry Kane to Old Trafford in the summer. The England captain has worn the No.10 at Tottenham since the 2015/16 season, so should he decide that Manchester is his next destination, there is a chance he would enquire about the possibility of having that jersey.
Evidently, that number is currently occupied by Marcus Rashford, who has been the Reds’ number 10 since the 2018/19 campaign. If the 25-year-old decided he was happy for his Three Lions teammate to have the No.10 jersey, he could take on the number seven shirt from next season onwards.
‘Rashford 7’ would certainly excite supporters, and he has worn the number while playing for England in the past. This is, admittedly, unlikely to happen, but it certainly can’t be ruled out. Yet, with Rashford having scored 29 goals with the No.10 on his back this term, he might understandably want to keep things as they are.