Bruno Fernandes expected to replace Mata at 8: Manchester United squad numbers freed up by departures

Manchester United have been saying goodbye to a group of players with expiring contracts, leaving several squad numbers unassigned.

One departure in particular should be bittersweet for Bruno Fernandes, giving him the shirt number he has wanted at United since day one.

Manchester United squad numbers freed up by departures

Paul Pogba‘s exit means the number 6 shirt will be available for the first time since 2016.

This is likely to be taken by a new signing, possibly Frenkie de Jong or Ruben Neves, or another midfielder.

Juan Mata‘s departure frees up the number 8 shirt for the first time since he joined the club in 2014.

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This is the number Bruno Fernandes covets, and has not been shy about it.

“I guess I’ll have to wait for the number 8 another year…”, Fernandes wrote on social media last year when Mata signed his contract extension.

If Fernandes switches to 8, then the number 18 will become free.

Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY/AFP via Getty Images

Lee Grant held the number 13 shirt, which also becomes available after his retirement.

Jesse Lingard‘s exit means the number 14 is available. This could be offered to a new signing.

Edinson Cavani was 7 before switching to accommodate Ronaldo, taking the 21 shirt. This now becomes available.

Frenkie de Jong wears 21 at Barcelona, so it’s possible he could take this rather than 6, if he joins.

Nemanja Matic held the number 31 shirt since joining in 2017. This might not be one which there is a rush to fill.

Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Other numbers which could be freed up

Defensive departures could see Eric Bailly leave and free up the number 3 shirt, and Phil Jones’ exit make number 4 available.

Anthony Martial is currently occupying the number 9 shirt. This could be offered to a new striker, perhaps Darwin Nunez, regardless of whether the Frenchman stays or goes.

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