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The “Number 7” Conundrum

Manchester United striker Michael Owen revealed last week via Twitter that the club would not be offering him a new contract.  This brings an end to Owen’s three years at Old Trafford which have been marred with injuries. His imminent departure signals the availability of the famous Number 7 shirt for next season.  “What’s the fuss over a jersey? It’s just a number” you may say, but the importance of this jersey to the Old Trafford faithful cannot be overlooked.

It goes without saying that it is arguably the most famous jersey in Manchester United’s history. The mumbles and the grumbles from fans when Owen was handed the jersey at the start of the 09/10 season said it all, with many claiming he would do the jersey a disservice.

Three seasons down the line, the jersey lies in waiting for its next successor. Now the million dollar question: Who is the right man to be United’s next No.7? Who is the right man to follow in the path of George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo?

 

Likely Candidates

1. Luis Nani

Like Ronaldo, Nani was purchased from Sporting Lisbon, albeit in the summer of 2007. He was predicted as the natural successor to Ronaldo and was expected to be United’s main man after his Portuguese comrade’s departure. But three seasons after Ronaldo’s sale to Madrid,  Nani is yet to cement his place as the ‘go-to’ man for United. It is often said that “Nani blows hot and cold.” His inconsistency is a worry for United fans and doubts linger over whether he will ever be able to fulfill his potential. There are some who believe the Number 7 jersey is what Nani needs to finally come good, since it will be a sign of Fergie’s undoubted faith in him.

 Natural successor? Is it finally Nani’s time?

2. Antonio Valencia

Purchased the season after Ronaldo’s departure, Valencia has hardly put a foot wrong ever since. His consistency and near perfect crosses made him a crowd favourite in a short space of time. The manner in which he came back into the squad and played like he had never been away, after being sidelined with a broken foot is testament to the determination of this lad. Fresh from a season where he won the club’s Player of the Year and Goal of the Season awards, it’s hard to argue with the fact that he doesn’t deserve the Number 7 jersey. But then again Valencia doesn’t possess that superstar tag like the likes of Beckham and Cantona, and goes about his business in a quiet fashion.

Mr. Reliable. Valencia has staked his claimed for the coveted number

 

3. Ashley Young

Young had his ups and downs in his first season as a United player and would be the first to admit he didn’t perform to the maximum of his ability. Yet still we saw glimpses of him at his very best as Brad Friedel and Wojciech Szczesny would attest to. Some have ironically likened his diving antics to that of Ronaldo and have concluded he’s the best candidate for the number. He currently wears the Number 18 jersey which previously belonged to Scholes. But with the Ginger Maestro staying for one more season, who knows what lies in store for Young.

Looks familiar? Young likened to Ronaldo for the wrong reasons

4. New signing

This is the most popular choice among red fans, who would like to see a marquee signing given the number 7. Shinji Kagawa and Eden Hazard top this list, with the latter the most widely preferred, since he has the “superstar attribute” as well as some arrogance to go along with it. Whether or not we would sign one or both of them is unclear, but if at least one of them is purchased it is widely believed he will be assigned the jersey number.

Kagawa or Hazard for Number 7 . Anyone?

 

Here are views from some United fans:

“I’d go for Valencia. He has been consistent over the past 2 seasons, you can see how our play improves when he’s playing.”

“I’d tip Hazard! Watched him, liked him. He’s a game changer.”

“A new signing for the number would be best, to bring some freshness into the number. Hazard maybe.”

“I prefer Nani in our number 7 jersey next season.. I still believe he has the potential to fill in that position…its just a matter of time.”

 

A new season begins in some months time and the lads will be out to reclaim the Premier League crown. The Number 7 jersey is up for grabs.  The question is : Who Is Next?


– Kelvin Wellington (@Kelv_ne)

54 Comments

54 Comments

  1. d

    May 24, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    give it to Hazard if we sign him or if not give it to Hernandez

    • Avis

      May 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      its gona be eden hazard wearing no 7….

  2. RedDevilEddy

    May 24, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Give it to Danny!

    • AndyCR7

      May 25, 2012 at 6:13 am

      @RedDevilEddy: I thought you would say Anderson 😆

  3. colver

    May 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Sadly none of our current players are fit to fill the boots of Best, Robson, Cantona, Beckham and Ronaldo.

    Nani is far too inconsistent and not influential enough.

    Valencia is steady but lacks star quality

    Young should be a squad player no more

    Ferguson wants to buy a winger this summer but that is dumb because we already have three wingers who may not be world class but they are not the weak link.

    My vote would be to buy an attacking creative midfielder such as Sneijder or Gaitan and give them the number 7.

    We definitely need another world class player to take the burden off Rooney and central midfield is where we have the gap

  4. Ian

    May 25, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Victor Wanyama would be my shout. Stick the number 7 back in the centre of the park where Robbo used to plague opponents. I think this kid Wanyama’s capable of performing at the highest levels, wish we’d give him a chance.

    • Ian

      May 25, 2012 at 8:21 am

      Why all the dislikes?! 😆

    • Nuevo

      May 25, 2012 at 11:35 am

      @Ian: Checked on Google…is it the player from Celtic? Is he good? can you Tell more

      • Ian

        May 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm

        @Nuevo: @Nuevo: @Nuevo:

        Yes the kid from Celtic, I like the look of him, I think he’ll be the player who joins a ‘Tottenham’, has a blinder of a season then has every top club sniffing after him. That’s why I’d get him now, seize the potential!

        I could easily be wrong, only time will tell but to me he’s got everything a midfield engine needs.

        • Stephen

          May 25, 2012 at 4:09 pm

          @Ian: Don’t you think we can do a bit better than that?! 😯

        • Ian

          May 25, 2012 at 5:29 pm

          @Stephen: depends what you mean. I think he’ll become one of the best midfielders in Europe in the near future, so for me the answer in no, I don’t think we can at the price. I want a leader, a boss, a general. I think he’s the answer to that position. You can carry on banging the drum for all the paper/hollywood players talked about in the media, I’ll just carry on thinking for myself.

          Tbf, it’s just an opinion but because he’s not mentioned every day on the back of newspapers that are written by wannabe football people who probably fell over a football everytime it came near them when they were young, then people think it’s YOU that’s daft. That’s the reason most people just bleat out the same names they see/hear/read about being linked to signing so they can look wise/smart/knowledgable etc. i doubt that there’s 2 people on here now who would pick the same 11 players if they were asked to for a United team yet everyone’s talking about the same select few in a group that’s driven by the media.

          This transfer game is a mugs game, let it pass you by until a signing is official.

        • Stephen

          May 25, 2012 at 5:48 pm

          @Ian: I have to agree, constantly speculating about transfers is boring and pointless. Getting pissed off about newspaper talk which is false is also pointless, lets just wait then we can either praise or criticise.

    • tonymontanna4united

      May 25, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      @Ian: To be fair, that boy does look a bloody good player. May only be the scottish league, but they do still find the odd gem there now and again (the LB, izaguirre looks decent too).
      Would have to be hazard for me though, that is if does arrive, for the no 7. The arrogance, the skills, the way he’d get people off their seats. Thats what no 7’s here are supposed to do, and i believe he would.
      Seems a bit of a twat personally, but a great player nonetheless. 99% sure hes city bound though.

      • Ian

        May 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm

        @tonymontanna4united: I haven’t seen enough of Hazard to comment tbh but if he’s got that Ronaldo arrogance AND the ability to carry it off then fair play give hime the shirt. For me though, the MOST pressing issue is a leader in CM, and after growing up idolising Robbo do exactly what I think we need now…..I’d be happy to see a player brought in to do that job and give him the 7. If he wears it anywhere near like Robbo he’ll be a huge success, and right now, the best player I’ve watched do that role is Victor Wanyama.

        • tonymontanna4united

          May 26, 2012 at 1:09 am

          @Ian: I know what you mean mate. Unfortunately i never got the chance to see robbo in the flesh, but i grew up with keano, who is still a god to me, and i get where your coming from 1000%.
          A captain for example, imo, should always be a midfielder. Someone capable of grabbing a game by the scruff of the neck, everything going through him.
          Think keane vs juventus 99, think robbo practically every god damn week, think gerrard when he was at his best 2005-07. The number 7 shirt is the same. Unfortunately though, there really arent many keanes, robbos, hate saying it but gerrards, around any more.
          The kid at celtic, i have watched a couple of times, and he does look the business, but is he at this moment in time a number 7 at the end of the day?
          Get what your saying though. He certainly is a player to watch. Most likely though as you said, a team like spurs snap him up for peanuts, and 2 years down the line we show an interest and are quoted £30m 🙄
          Were far to slow to take a gamble on certain players sometimes i feel.

        • Ian

          May 26, 2012 at 11:48 pm

          Absolutely my point mate, and you’re right about there being a lack of those kind of players out there, big shame really.

  5. Nelson

    May 25, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I think Kagawa will have it(assuming his signing is cert). If I were to pick from the current squad then it would be Valencia

    • Stephen

      May 25, 2012 at 8:54 am

      @Nelson: I agree with that one, the Glazers would also be delighted as it will sell a few shirts in Japan.

      • Nelson

        May 25, 2012 at 8:58 am

        @Stephen: Glazernomics in motion 🙂

        • Stephen

          May 25, 2012 at 9:17 am

          @Nelson: 😆 😆 😆

  6. Traverse

    May 25, 2012 at 10:14 am

    We’ll sell Kagawa shirts in Japan regardless of number. Hazard 7 is a cert if he signs.

  7. Owen

    May 25, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Give it to Bebe please !!!

    • Ian

      May 25, 2012 at 11:24 am

      I bet this doesn’t get as many dislikes as my Wanyama shout! 🙁

      • Nuevo

        May 25, 2012 at 11:26 am

        @Ian: There you go i gave it one just to put a smile on you 😉

    • Opti

      May 25, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      @Owen: HAHAHAAHAH! I about screamed out loud laughing in the middle of my conference…

      7E7E!!

  8. Stephen

    May 25, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Hazard is a super player but I really don’t think we need to spend £35m on yet another winger. I know he has played through the middle this season but midfield should be the most important, then a striker then fullbacks.

    • Moscow

      May 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      @Stephen: I agree, we need at least two world class midfielders alongside Hazard and Kagawa. Higuain or Cavani would be great to have but a lot of clubs are on their trail, so we’d probably lose out.

      Rooney played up front on his own against Sunderland and our midfield dominated the game, there were a lot of sequences when Giggs (who will be replaced by Kagawa) linked up with Rooney and Young and attacked through the middle. It was refreshing to see. Rooney’s strike partner whether it be Welbeck or Hernandez actually stop a lot of our attacks with poor touch and finishing so I don’t see it as much of a sacrifice to drop them for an extra man in the midfield, especially because it means Rooney is not wasted in midfield.

      With a true 4-2-3-1 we can attack from the wings and through the middle:

      De Gea
      Rafael Rio Vidic Evra
      Martinez Carrick
      Nani Kagawa Hazard
      Rooney

      That is an interchanging and adventurous front 4 without sacrificing defensive depth. If Martinez and Carrick anchor the midfield trust me we would make City our bitch.

      • Stephen

        May 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm

        @Moscow:

        I agree, we need to move on for 4-4-2 especially in Europe and we will get dominated by any decent side with that formation. We can certainly get away with it to some degree in the Premiership, all be it not against the big sides. This is a big summer for us, if we spend well this summer I will be confident next season, if not then I fear the worst.

      • tonymontanna4united

        May 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm

        @Stephen: Well if you believe the press, it seems our plan is for us to neglect the CM again, buy 2 more attacking players (hazard and kagawa), push rooney up into the strikers position again, and play a very fluid, interchanging 4 man attack with hazard, kagawa, rooney and then one of young, nani and vally (there’d be no interchanging if vally was playing, but the other 2 along with welbeck, certainly could).
        Sounds exciting on paper anyway. Would certainly be good to watch, and would be capable of tearing most defences apart.
        Maybe thats our plan though stephen. Have so many attacking players on at once, the opposition have no choice but to defend deeper, thus leaving more space and time on the ball for our midfielders.
        Average as they may be, with players like rooney, hazard, nani and kagawa running at them, your talking about time and space that even our sorry midfield could probably exploit.
        Who knows though. I think our team could definitely do with a few more “flair” players, of the calibre hazard and kagawa most certainly are, but do agree. At the end of the day, its bloody midfield that needs sorting first and foremost. If were looking at spending £30m+ on anyone, it’d have to be martinez for me.
        Carrick and martinez, just look like they were meant to play together. They’d compliment each other perfectly.

        @Moscow: Damn that team looks sexy. All except skinned sausage at LB. Dont care if its baines, alaba (the young bayern lad), fryers or bloody arthur albiston recalled from retirement, just please no more evra.

        • Stephen

          May 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm

          @tonymontanna4united: I agree with that one, Kagawa will play as an attacking midfield player and Hazard maybe in the centre or out wide. We still need someone in the centre who can dicate the tempo of a game. I would also want a player who can put his foot in. With Berba going an Owen already gone, up front we are very light. Cavani ot Higuin would be just perfect but probably just a pipe dream.

    • Nelson

      May 26, 2012 at 8:48 am

      @Stephen: Hazard natural position is central attacking midfield although he’d can also play on the wings

  9. Yang

    May 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Kagawa is not a midfielder, he is withdrawn striker. Strange to see, United linked only attacking players so far.

  10. Craig Mc

    May 25, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Somebody explain to me WTF United are after Levezzi – who only scored 9 goals for his club this last season. Aint we learned our lesson with Argentinians, they are trouble makers end of, so I don’t want any more of them at our place. We need a prolific scorer and not Levezzi, so stop dicking about – if it is true that is 😆 . Also Boateng the Prince 🙄 , why are we after him, does he excite – NO! If Hazard can’t make his mind up after all this time, then what will he be like if he comes to us, wanting out every year unless gets massive pay rise. He aint proved nothing yet. From what I have seen of Kagawa, I love the lad. If United miss out on him, well Gill will have to eat his words about being able to get class players in to the club. I wouldn’t mind Jelavic and Fellaini, those two were all over us at OT in the 4-4 draw! Don’t know what you guys think of them.

    • Stephen

      May 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      @Craig Mc: I think we can do better than Jelavic, I am a big fan of Fellani but he does go missing in certain games.

    • Moscow

      May 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      @Craig Mc: Boateng is a monster on Schweinsteiger level, paired with the metronomic Carrick he could really build up the tempo in midfield.

      Lavezzi is versatile in attack, he can play up top or cut in from the left. Liverpool have Suarez, City have Aguero, strikers who are suited to ground football, excellent dribblers with pace and I feel our strikers have struggled in that department, Hernandez nor Welbeck can stay on their feet or control the ball.

      Sadly, none of them will arrive this summer so you have no reason to worry.

      • Stephen

        May 25, 2012 at 4:58 pm

        @Moscow: I am not a fan of Boateng personally, he is a poser of the highest order. Lavezzi on the other hand a superb player, but he is 27 and we rarely sign players of that age.

        • Moscow

          May 25, 2012 at 5:23 pm

          @Stephen: I’m not mad about him either, and chances are Fergie hasn’t even thought about signing him. Anyway he is a trouble maker and a talented midfielder who would displace Scholes from the starting XI and Fergie wouldn’t let that happen.

  11. Moscow

    May 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Well, I am glad that this is the end for the fat piece of useless trash that is Anderson. I would love to be making what he earns a week sitting on my ass eating Doritos but I suppose I don’t have the ‘potential’ that he does 😆

    Now return back to whichever sorry favela spawned you and your passing.

  12. Yang

    May 25, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Hazard looks like special talent, Kagawa interviewed in Japan TV, Fergie view Kagawa as a Rooney’s role in the team. If hazard come then may be one or two our wide men leave in the future, If Kagawa sign then I guess welbeck and Chica get reduced playing time.

    Both could be decent signing, I think there is high chance Kagawa may be not fit into the team. his fortes are looking for good space and positioning but our attacking style is very direct.

  13. Trent

    May 25, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Why not give it to Scholes?

  14. peter

    May 26, 2012 at 12:28 am

    I think the only one on that list deserving of the number 7 is Nani, without a doubt. I think he will turn from the inconsistent and frustrating performer to an absolute game changer if the responsibility is laid upon him.
    If we sign Hazard though, the # should go to him without question.

    • Yang

      May 26, 2012 at 4:22 am

      @peter: I am pretty sure shirt number is nothing to do with consistency ;). |Do we really need pay huge money for Hazard? I am not sure, Money could be used much needed part like Dm position, I am confused why shell out big money on two young prospects.

  15. Nelson

    May 26, 2012 at 8:54 am

    @Stephen: Hazard natural position is central attacking midfield although he can also play on either flank

  16. Nelson

    May 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    anyone watching France vs Iceland? Evra is a defensive liability. two goals conceded thanks to ineffective marking on his wing but I am not surprised at all

    • tonymontanna4united

      May 27, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      @Nelson: Im just sick of the sight of him now tbh nelson. What a Pathetic waste of space he has become.
      I may not ever have been a fan of john o’shea, but atleast he tried. Atleast he looked like he actually wanted to pull on our shirt, and would always put in a good shift regardless of how lacking in general ability he was.
      Evra though just couldnt give a shit. Defending is beneath him. Evans and rio can fill in and do his job whilst hes up the other end of the pitch thinking hes ronaldinho 🙄 barely breaking a sweat to get back and help his team mates.
      Just a selfish, “all about me”, joke who’d be better suited to shitty or another of the mercenary clubs. Quite how hes bigged up as supposedly one of our players who loves the club, god only knows.
      So i say piss off to psg or to qatar paddy, because its blatantly obvious your just not bothered anymore. So why should i be bothered about you.

  17. Yang

    May 28, 2012 at 1:40 am

    About Evra, I think people too harsh about him. Attacking wing back is pretty much same, caught out of position etc. I guess, Evra played too many games, we should bring back up or rotation member. well we did but twin pretty much don’t grow up as we expected, get injured regularly.

    I am worrying about twin because injury can eat out their potential stamina level permanently, Anderson is same. Evra need tobe bit more conservative when he push up because he cannot run like 25 year’s old anymore. Think Rafael can overlap better so Evra can be more defensive than before.

    • tonymontanna4united

      May 28, 2012 at 11:58 am

      @Yang: Not harsh at all. Hes been shite for 2 seasons now, and probably worst of all, just doesnt seem to care anymore.
      Hes become the most lazy player in the side, his arrogance is not only boring to keep hearing but also extremely frustrating, given his own personal form, and his captaincy just makes a mockery to the great men who have previously worn that armband with pride.
      We shouldnt be tolerating it. If that was a young lad, he’d have been out the door ages ago.
      Why should evra be any different just because he was ONCE a world class player.

  18. AndyCR7

    May 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    This might stir an argument 😛
    Arrogant Bastard 😛
    http://t.co/u3yOL4Xb

  19. AndyCR7

    May 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Louis Saha believes Hazard is gonna join Chelsea! (Source: Twitter)

  20. JARaven

    May 29, 2012 at 3:59 am

    Hello Reds. Fan of the blog and finally decided to post. Hazard is on his way to Chelsea. I agree that we need a game changer … a leader. I like Martinez. Not sure Kagawa can fill the role fully as I expect only one big transfer to come in. What do folks think of Dempsey to help lead the front? I like his ‘never say die’ attitude.

  21. Traverse

    May 29, 2012 at 9:05 am

    The strangest thing about this whole Hazard affair is how another top Belgian talent managed to avoid us for so long. Aren’t we supposed to have a feeder club in Belgium, Royal Antwerp? Isn’t that supposed to give us some sort of scouting advantage?

    Vertonghen, Vermaelen, Kompany, Fellaini, Hazard, Witsel, Defour. What’s the point of this link up if the country produces 7 top class players and we didn’t know about any of them until they leave the country!?

    I expect deals for Kagawa and Powell to be tied up sharpish now, but that’ll be it for the summer. Don’t worry, Bebe is coming back.

    Anyone still defending the Glazers, please put your arguments forward…….. now.

    • Opti

      May 29, 2012 at 9:21 am

      @Traverse: …

    • Stephen

      May 29, 2012 at 10:10 am

      @Traverse: Yes they are great owners…….. 🙄

  22. Vignesh

    May 29, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Man Utd owners dont seem to have even 7M to buy the Sigurdsson 🙁

    So all this talk of Hazard, Modric seems to be baloney 🙄 😯

    Need a DM like Strootman , AM like Kagawa and a strong / speedy central defender 🙂 (ahhh…how i dream 😉 )

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