Antony is ideal player to be Manchester United's next number 7
Manchester United’s number 7 shirt is one of the most iconic in football. But over the past 15 years, it has been so problematic than many have feared it to be ‘cursed’.
Cristiano Ronaldo vacated the shirt in 2009 when he left for Real Madrid, and since then, United have struggled to fill it, with Michael Owen, Antonio Valencia, Memphis Depay and Alexis Sanchez among the players to try and fail.
Edinson Cavani did well in 2020/21, before Ronaldo returned, and both player wanted it. From having no number 7s, United had two, and now in 2022 – the club might be back to having none again.
Cavani has been released, and Cristiano Ronaldo is seeking an exit, BBC Sport report. This would leave United having to find another new number 7…
Antony is ideal player
Finding Manchester United’s next number 7 won’t be easy. One candidate might be Jadon Sancho, who so many fans pencilled in for this shirt number back in 2020. When he joined, Cavani had the shirt, and Sancho took the 25.
Sancho could still be offered the shirt, but after an unconvincing and difficult first season, Sancho could do without the extra pressure, and would be best served attempting to improve under the radar.
Teenager Alejandro Garnacho would no doubt dream of succeeding his idol one day, but let’s discard this idea for now. At just 17, he’s not ready yet, and United must be careful of ‘too much too soon’.
Transfer target Antony is the ideal player and character to fill the Ronaldo void. Unlike the current number 7, The Times reports he is ‘determined’ to play for United next season.
Antony would be a lot easier for United to afford too, if Cristiano Ronaldo’s annual salary is removed from the club’s wage bill.
In terms of playing style, Antony shares traits Ronaldo had when he joined as a youngster, and is a little further on in his development.
The Brazilian is a bag of tricks, and would get the crowd on their feet. He is the type of player whose energy would be befitting of the famous number 7 shirt.
Speaking to De Telegraaf earlier this year, the flamboyant star said: “There will always be people who think the tricks are really cool and people who disapprove of them. I think my actions are functional, because I want to show the opponent that I’m the boss. And often it results in a goal or an assist.”
United have a long way to go with this still. Ronaldo has to find a new club, and then the Red Devils have to restart the currently stalled negotiations to sign Antony. But as far as potential number 7s go, the Brazilian is the standout option, and he would be joining a manager who knows how to get the best out of him.