It’s been a long time coming, but Jadon Sancho is soon to be unveiled as a Manchester United player.
Sancho has already agreed personal terms with United after the club had a £72.9million bid accepted by Borussia Dortmund three weeks ago and the 21-year-old arrived at the Carrington training complex last week to complete a medical.
His announcement was delayed by a ‘minor issue’ – though there have never been any fears that a deal would fall through as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally lands his man this summer.
Four years after leaving Manchester the right winger returns as an England international and with a point to prove in the domestic game after taking German football by storm. The former Man City hopeful clearly has unfinished business in the Premier League and views United as the next step in his ultimate quest of one day winning the illustrious Ballon d’Or.
For someone who indulges in nostalgia as much as Solskjaer it is crucial United have a right winger befitting of the club’s famous past, with the Norwegian sure to name-drop at least one of the famous wingers to have previously lit up Old Trafford when praising Sancho in his debut campaign.
Yet while Sancho might be the man to finally fill a long-standing right wing void there is fair argument to suggest he will need to wait a little while before he is handed the extra responsibility of wearing the famed No.7 shirt.
Donned by George Best, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, there are few jerseys in world football which are quite as symbolic as the No.7 at United.
Few would dispute Sancho has the world-class swagger to deal with the additional weight of such responsibility, but for the next season Edinson Cavani deserves to keep it after finally clearing the ‘curse’ which tainted it for over a decade.
Michael Owen, Antonio Valencia, Angel di Maria, Memphis Depay and Alexis Sanchez all underwhelmed when handed the No.7 shirt at Old Trafford, even if it is merely coincidence, it is credit to Cavani for ending such a rot.
Confusion was sparked this week when ProDirectSoccer.com allowed supporters to buy shirts with pre-made Sancho No.7 or Cavani No.7 on the back, adding to the confusion regarding potential squad numbers next season.
While the Uruguayan forward might not fit the bill as an archetypal occupier of the number he certainly proved himself talented enough to do it justice with 17 goals in 39 appearances last season.
Having convinced Cavani to stay for one final year at Old Trafford it would be fitting reward for him to keep the number which he has rejuvenated and restored pride in.
Just as Ronaldo had to wait a year at Real Madrid to inherit his desired squad number from Raul, it is only fair if Sancho waits in the wings before being presented with the gift of such responsibility.
History suggests it might well do him a favour to wait a year to settle before being unleashed as the new United No.7, but no matter when he does, he will owe a great deal of gratitude to Cavani for making his job a lot easier.
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