Man Utd's 2022/23 Premier League Fixtures
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Manchester United could lose Cristiano Ronaldo this summer. And, if that happens, then it’s possible Jadon Sancho will end up getting the No 7 jersey. With that being the case, it’s now time to look back at how the England international feels about the jersey at a time where it could soon be available, once again.
Manchester United re-signed Ronaldo last August, with the forward returning to Old Trafford having previously looked set to join Manchester City.
Immediately after it was confirmed the Portugal international would be coming back for a second crack in Manchester, speculation over his shirt number arose.
Ronaldo had worn the No 7 during his first spell at United, where he arrived from Sporting Lisbon in 2002 shortly after the departure of David Beckham to Real Madrid.
But, at the time of his return, the number was occupied by Edinson Cavani.
Cavani had donned the jersey during the 2020/2021 season, scoring 17 goals across all competitions and shining as the club reached the final of the Europa League.
That summer, Sancho was actually United’s top transfer target.
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had wanted the England international in 2020, only for the club to fail to agree a fee with Borussia Dortmund – who wanted £108million for their prized asset.
Sancho did end up moving last summer instead, for the discounted fee of £73m.
And The Athletic said earlier in the campaign that the England international was initially under the impression he’d get given the No 7.
Sancho had been promised it in 2020 and thought United chiefs were still prepared to give him the jersey they craved most.
Except that didn’t happen.
Cavani was unwilling to give up the kit for Sancho, despite Solskjaer making it clear the forward would be an integral part of his Old Trafford project.
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And that led to the England star feeling ‘confused’ about the whole ordeal, while also forcing him to choose the No 25 as an alternative.
A year on, it’s now possible Sancho will end up getting the No 7 in the event that Ronaldo is shown the door.
Publicly, the club have insisted the 37-year-old will be staying for the rest of his contract – which is due to expire in the summer of 2023.
Yet behind the scenes, it appears United are willing to offload Ronaldo and his £500,000-a-week wages providing a suitable offer comes in.
Chelsea are eyeing a deal for the Portugal international, with new owner Todd Boehly recently discussing the matter with super-agent Jorge Mendes.
Bayern Munich are monitoring the situation amid uncertainty over Robert Lewandowski’s future, with the Poland international wanted by Barcelona.
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And Barcelona themselves have been thrown into the mix, despite Ronaldo previously spending nine years at fierce rivals Real Madrid.
Sancho would be one contender to take the No 7 shirt at United, something that could even help get the former Manchester City star back to his best.
Yet what ultimately happens with the jersey, and Ronaldo, is something only time will tell.
Regarding Ronaldo, Jimmy-Floyd Hasslebaink recently urged United to get rid of the forward – despite a lack of ready-made replacements.
“You do not want an unhappy player – especially a player of that calibre,” he said.
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“You want him to be happy. If you are going to work with Ronaldo you know that you are going to build your team around him.
“But if he is not happy, on the amount of money that you pay, maybe use that for some other players and use it within the squad.
“You are not going to be able to replace him but you can make the team better in different places.
“I think if Ronaldo wants to go, then you let him go. He is at an age where maybe he can play one more year in the Champions League.
“So try and get as much money for him, sell him and try to build a squad and make the team stronger.”
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