Manchester United’s new No.7: What’s next?

by Leo Nieboer

The historic No.7 shirt at Manchester United has been once again vacated following Memphis Depay‘s departure for Lyon this week.

Memphis arrived at Old Trafford back in June 2015 on a wave of optimism following a sensational title-winning season with PSV Eindhoven.

The early signs were positive, with Memphis doing the No.7 shirt justice during Man United’s 3-1 win over Club Bruges back in August, but the Dutchman quickly descended into anonymity following a tumultuous lapse in form under Louis van Gaal.

And after a period of frustration under Jose Mourinho, hallmarked by just one start in the first team, Memphis has – somewhat understandably – decided to move on, joining Lyon for a fee of £16m (which could rise to £22m with add-ons).

His departure was met with very little sympathy or support, and United fans will now turn their attention to another matter: who will occupy the No.7 shirt next?

One obvious candidate comes in the form of Antonine Griezmann, who reportedly agreed personal terms and his shirt number with United earlier this week. He has previously admitted to idolising David Beckham – a truly iconic No.7 – as a child, and it would be somewhat poetic for him wear the same shirt as the man he venerated as a youngster.

Other candidates include Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard – three youngsters who have all demonstrated their brilliance on the flank in recent times – but the next owner of perhaps the most valuable shirt in world football remains anybody’s guess.

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