It is not the player’s fault, but most of the excitement and buzz from the signing of Jadon Sancho has simmered down because of the length of time it has taken Manchester United to announced the deal.

Despite confirmation of an agreement on July 1, and a medical on July 13 [BBC], here we are on July 22 with no official confirmation of the deal being totally complete.

The biggest question mark is over Sancho’s United squad number. Will he get the number 7 shirt or be handed another?

Earlier this week we reported how merchandise store Pro Direct Soccer were selling Sancho 7 shirts on the new Manchester United home kit. But to add to the confusion they were also selling Cavani 7 shirts too.

The Sancho shirt image has now been removed from their website, and it is no longer possible to order a shirt with his name and number 7 on it.

New number at the ready

With the number 7 worn by Edinson Cavani already, United needed to find an alternative for Sancho. With Sergio Romero’s 22 taken by Tom Heaton, below are the four lowest available squad numbers. Of course some, like Jesse Lingard’s 14, could be freed up if he leaves.


Last worn by Chris Smalling


Last worn by Marcos Rojo


Last worn by Timothy Fosu-Mensah

According to Andy Mitten writing for The National, Sancho is expected to be given United’s number 16 shirt for the upcoming season.

This would see Sancho follow some big names including Roy Keane and Michael Carrick, who albeit very different players, did not let an unusual shirt number impact their performances in any way whatsoever.

It may only be a temporary solution for Sancho, with Cavani entering the final year of his contract. He has waited long enough to sign for United. One more year to get a particular shirt number shouldn’t be too painful.

Keep Cavani at 7

Edinson Cavani lifted the curse of the number 7 shirt which has plagued it’s occupiers since Cristiano Ronaldo left the club.

After doing so well in his first season, scoring 17 goals in total, Cavani should keep it.

Manchester United v Fulham - Premier League

Taking it off him risks upsetting him, and even if it didn’t, there would be a media narrative there which would cause distraction for both players, if their seasons did not start so well.

There is a case to let Sancho earn the historic shirt too. A strong debut season at the number 16 will make him more comfortable. He is under enough pressure with the big fee, long wait, and the Euro 2020 penalty miss which resulted in unfair abuse, that taking Cavani’s shirt would only add to it.

While still not yet confirmed by the club, this might end up being a sensible solution, even if it is only a temporary one.

England v Denmark  - UEFA Euro 2020 - Semi-final
(Photo by Vincent Mignott/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
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