Another transfer window has passed with more additions incoming, but the future of United’s number seven shirt remains unresolved.
Bruno Fernandes was brought in for a big money fee, and while he possesses the eye catching attributes to wear the iconic shirt, he was given the number 18.
Fernandes’ debut showed he can’t do it all. More big money signings are needed to turn this team into one which can get near to challenging for the title.
The summer priorities are for a new winger, possibly two. Another midfielder even, and a striker.
Dream signings might be Jadon Sancho, Hakim Ziyech, Jack Grealish, or Timo Werner.
Any one of these four players would be worthy of wearing United’s number seven shirt.
They each have the creativity, the eye for goal, and elements of the maverick individual brilliance which has helped United’s previously successful number sevens like Eric Cantona or Cristiano Ronaldo write their names into United folklore.
This team badly needs a bit of this right now. United’s decision to give Fernandes the number 18 may be an acknowledgement and a hint that a new number seven may be incoming this summer. Finally.
Unfortunately it may not be as simple as going to Ajax, paying £50 million for Hakim Ziyech, and handing him United’s number seven shirt.
The shirt is currently assigned to Alexis Sanchez, and murmurings over his future complicate the situation.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer even said last week at his press conference [BBC] that Sanchez will return and ‘prove everybody wrong’.
If Sanchez returns next summer, United will probably be stuck with him until late in the window.
If the club try to loan him or sell him, the situation is easy, his shirt number can be re-assigned.
But in the situation United really are considering keeping Sanchez, it is going to be really hard to do so and expect success, while stripping him of the number seven shirt.
That’s why it might have just been simpler just to hand it to Fernandes now, while Sanchez is in Italy, and tell him if he wants to make it at United again, he will have to pick another number, while hoping the weight off his shoulders may help him.
We’d love to see a new player come in, take the seven, and restore the number to become a centre-piece of United’s success.
If it stays assigned to Sanchez for another year, whether he’s here or not, it feels like a waste.
If Sancho is here and wearing another number, we’ll live, but it would be better if Sanchez stepped aside.
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