Modern-day footballers often build their brands in association with their squad numbers, so what will the England star wear at Old Trafford?
Jadon Sancho’s transfer to Manchester United is close to completion, with the Red Devils forking out £73 million ($101m) to Borussia Dortmund for the England international.
It means a former Manchester City youth prospect will soon be strutting his stuff in the famous red jersey of the other side of the city divide.
But what shirt number will he be wearing when he does? Goal takes a look at the possibilities, the options available as well as Sancho’s squad number history.
What shirt number will Jadon Sancho wear at Man Utd?
It remains unclear which shirt number Sancho will wear at Manchester United, but the forward has been tipped to take the famous No. 7 jersey.
However, the Red Devils No. 7 shirt is currently worn by Edinson Cavani and some negotiation may be required if he is to get it.
“I say give him the shirt,” said Louis Lancaster, who worked with Sancho during the winger’s time with the Watford youth team, while speaking on the Stretford Paddock YouTube channel.
“I don’t think it would faze him. I think actually he’d be a better player for having that shirt, because of the pressure.
“Some players choke and some people get a bit more, 10 per cent [under pressure].”
The No. 7 jersey holds a special place in Manchester United folklore and the weight of expectation associated with the number is down to its legendary wearers through history.
Cristiano Ronaldo made the No. 7 his own at Old Trafford and soon incorporated it into his global brand, but Ronaldo merely followed in the footsteps of David Beckham, who inherited it from Eric Cantona.
Though he also wore other numbers – in an era when squad numbers were not so fixed – George Best is often associated with the No. 7, as is Bryan Robson.
Not all who have worn Manchester United’s No. 7 have thrived, however.
Antonio Valencia notably ditched the No. 7 in order to revert to his lucky No. 25, while a succession of stars have wilted while wearing it, including Memphis Depay and Alexis Sanchez.
What shirt numbers are available to Jadon Sancho at Man Utd?
The Manchester United No. 7 jersey is not free, since Edinson Cavani is wearing it, but it is not unknown for players to change numbers.
Sancho’s options when it comes to shirt numbers at United are fairly limited and unless the club can persuade others to change, he may have to settle for a new number that he has never worn before.
Some of the numbers that are currently free at Manchester United are: No. 12, No. 16, No. 22, No. 24, No. 25.
The No. 77 is available too, so maybe he might content himself with doubling up before calling dibs when Cavani moves on.
What numbers has Jadon Sancho worn before?
Sancho’s preferred squad number is No. 7, which he has worn since signing for Borussia Dortmund in 2017.
He has also worn No. 7 at international level for England, though Jack Grealish wore the jersey at Euro 2020, while Sancho was given the No. 17.
After No. 7, No. 17 appears to be the winger’s second preference, but he has donned a variety of numbers traditionally associated with attacking players.
For England, as well as No. 17, Sancho has worn the Nos. 9, 10, 11, 21 and 23.