Who should get Man Utd’s number 7 shirt?

Ever since one fateful November week where Cristiano Ronaldo lost all composure, went off on one to Piers Morgan about the state of Manchester United and had his contract terminated by mutual consent, the Red Devils have been without a number seven.

Funnily enough, that seemed to be a turning point in their season. Erik ten Hag’s men pulled themselves together, Marcus Rashford went supernova, they won the Carabao Cup and secured a third-place Premier League finish.

There are plenty of reasons for Man Utd fans to be positive heading into the 2023/24 season (even if they don’t secure all of their transfer targets and the sale of the club is dragging on).

Ten Hag has some bright stars at his disposal who will be vying to inherit the famous number seven shirt. Here are the leading contenders to take on such great responsibility.



Antony had a testing first season at Man Utd / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

Man Utd’s reckless pursuit of Antony ended up costing them £82m and was one transfer you can easily point at and blame for destroying the modern-day market.

He’s a tricky winger, sure, but was never really an overly prolific one in his time at Ajax. When you’re paying that much money for an attacking player, you’d better hope he’s a natural scorer.

In fairness to Antony, the compilation of his eight goals so far for the Red Devils is a rather impressive watch, but he’s so far away from the required standard in all other areas of his game.

The positive for Man Utd is he’s still only 23 and this was his first year in England. It’s unlikely he’ll be any worse next term, but he’s not ready to take on the number seven shirt anytime soon.

Jadon Sancho

Sancho is entering his third year at the club / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

On paper, Jadon Sancho’s 2022/23 Premier League campaign wasn’t that bad, registering six goals and three assists in 26 games (21 of which were starts).

But the fact we even have to say that about a £72m winger tells you just how far his stock has fallen since his 2021 move from Borussia Dortmund.

It’s a shame for Sancho because the only real reason he didn’t take the number seven upon his arrival was because it was already assigned to Edinson Cavani. Man Utd made a special allowance to strip the Uruguayan of it and hand Ronaldo his old number back.


Garnacho is one of Man Utd’s most exciting players / LINDSEY PARNABY/GettyImages

Despite only being a regular first-team fixture for a year, new Argentina international Alejandro Garnacho is the frontrunner to take the number seven.

The Manchester Evening News report that Man Utd are considering handing the famous shirt to the 18-year-old.

Hey, he’s already inherited the ‘Viva Ronaldo’ chant, Garnacho may as well take the Portuguese’s shirt as well, right?

This is a decision Man Utd shouldn’t rush into.

Everything around the club comes under intense scrutiny. Every problem is a crisis. Every decision is magnified and analysed like a sloppy error on Monday Night Football.

There are red flags against the current candidates in the current squad – Antony and Sancho aren’t good enough, while Garnacho need to prove himself a little more and could do without the added pressure.

If Man Utd go and splash lavish money on a forward that’s a sure-fire bet to be a success, then maybe they can take the number seven. But for now, there’s no point handing it out just for the sake of it.


On this edition of The Promised Land, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders and Rob Blanchette discuss Harry Kane suddenly being on the radar of Real Madrid and what Erik ten Hag may choose to do next. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

And come and join us in Las Vegas from July 28th at United Con, the place to be for United fans to come together on their pre-season tour of the US. Visit to book your place now.

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