Football

Manchester United have a new shirt number to give Jadon Sancho ahead of transfer

A year ago, Manchester United had originally intended to give Jadon Sancho the No 7 shirt. Vacant at the time, it was even promised to the Borussia Dortmund star. But with that jersey now occupied by Edinson Cavani instead, it seems increasingly likely he’ll be given the No 16 instead – which has been worn by club legends Michael Carrick and Roy Keane in the past.

Manchester United are confident of signing Sancho this time around.

They’ve tried to land the England international three times in the past, in 2017, 2019 and 2020 respectively, only to end up missing out every single time.

However, United are more sure this year. They’ve already submitted two bids to Borussia Dortmund and, though they’ve been turned down, remain optimistic a deal will be struck.

This time 12 months ago, the Red Devils intended to give Sancho the No 7 shirt.

It was actively reserved for the England star, having been left vacant following Alexis Sanchez’s departure to Inter Milan.

Except then things changed. The situation changed. And it was Cavani, instead of Sancho, who ended up taking on the most famous jersey in the club’s entire history.

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Solskjaer later revealed the Uruguay international had asked for it due to a confidence he could do it justice, unlike duds such as Sanchez, Angel Di Maria and Memphis Depay previously.

“That was the first thing he asked me when I spoke to him, if he could wear the No 7,” said Solskjaer in December.

“Obviously we are talking about the history of the shirt. When you think of the history of his career and the experience he has had, his personality from the chat I had with him and when I watched him before, it wasn’t in doubt that he could handle the No 7 shirt.

“He is so meticulous and professional.

“His habits and everything about him show why he has had the career he has. Even at the age he is now he is one of the fittest players we have got.”

So what now?

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Sancho is, without a doubt, a player worthy of the No 7 shirt at United. Exciting, talented and deadly, he ticks all the boxes required to be a substantial Old Trafford hit.

However, there’s little chance of Cavani giving it up.

The Uruguay international is selfless, but has shown in the past he’s ready to stand his ground. He famously clashed with Neymar over penalty duties at Paris Saint-Germain because he was unhappy at the Brazilian thinking he was entitled to take them.

And that suggests Cavani won’t just give it up because Sancho moves. Especially with his favoured No 9 shirt owned by Anthony Martial at the current moment in time.

Therefore, it’s possible United will give the Borussia Dortmund star the No 16 jersey instead.

While not usually associated with top players, it’s certainly a number that has done United well over the years.

Keane wore it for the majority of his own Old Trafford career, with the former Republic of Ireland midfielder winning seven Premier League titles during his spell at the club.

And Carrick also served it well, scooping five league titles as well as the Champions League crown in 2008 during his own time at the Theatre of Dreams.

United don’t have many available numbers to give Sancho.

The No 12 is hardly exciting, having been previously donned by the likes of Chris Smalling, Ben Foster, David Bellion and Phil Neville.

And the No 17 shirt Sancho is rocking for England at the European Championships is occupied by Fred at present, too.

United, in an ideal world, would have given the Borussia Dortmund star the most special shirt number of the lot.

But that’s unlikely to happen and, as a result, it’s far more likely the 21-year-old will take a different jersey instead once his move to the club finally goes through.

As well as Sancho, United are looking to seal deals for Raphael Varane and Kieran Trippier.

And links to Cristiano Ronaldo, Declan Rice, Jack Grealish and Pau Torres are refusing to die down as they look to strengthen the squad. 


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