Despite Manchester United’s progress in the Premier League, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side endured a miserable end to the season.
The Reds’ defeat in Gdansk against Villarreal in the Europa League final condemned United to an unsuccessful campaign and now Solskjaer will turn his attention to the transfer market, attempting to strengthen his side in preparation for next term.
Despite the United boss stating he hopes to welcome two or three additions this summer, the club ideally need a centre-back, defensive midfielder, right-winger and centre-forward, although in the post-pandemic world this may be economically unfeasible.
However, Solskjaer has worked hard to sanction exits for various players on the wage bill that offered little value since his appointment and it seems he’ll again have to make multiple key decisions on any potential departures in the transfer window.
So, how would any possible incomings or outgoings in personnel affect shirt numbers at United? We’ve taken a look below.
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Bruno Fernandes might change his number for next season because Juan Mata’s contract is set to expire and it’s unclear whether the Spaniard, who currently wears the number eight at United, will be signing a fresh deal at Old Trafford.
United’s top scorer this season wore the number eight at Sporting Lisbon and could change if Mata leaves the club.
“I still think I can play good football and give a lot to the team and enjoy for many years playing football like today, that’s my mentality. I’m still hungry to play football for some years. The club knows that so let’s seem,” Mata said after the Wolves win.
Arguably the most obvious possible number change at United concerns Dean Henderson as the battle for the No.1 spot ends.
It seemed almost certain that David de Gea would relinquish the number one role at United after Henderson performed well across his auditions in the Spaniard’s absence, but now the decision Solskjaer has to make between the pair looks less clear cut.
If De Gea does leave for pastures new, though, it seems highly likely Henderson will wear number one next season.
Despite Scott McTominay consolidating himself as an integral first-team member at United in recent seasons, the tenacious midfielder still wears the number 39, although it’s easy to speculate that could change for next campaign with an iconic number still vacant.
Roy Keane wore number 16 across his time spent at United and McTominay could potentially inherit that number, with Marcos Rojo and Michael Carrick the most recent squad members to wear that number on the back of their shirts for the Reds.
However, Keane has previously criticised McTominay which could dampen the 24-year-old’s enthusiasm to take the number.
“I’m not going to spit my dummy out and cry over something Roy Keane says,” McTominay said recently, though.
Which shirt numbers would you like to see next season? Have your say in the comments here.
Phil Jones’ contract expires at United at the end of 2023 but the centre-half hasn’t played for the club since January 2020.
Reports have suggested that Newcastle and West Ham have shown an interest in signing Jones this summer, which could finally signal the end of his 10-year spell at the club, which has turned sour over the last year with Jones indefinitely sidelined.
Although Jones hasn’t kicked a ball for United he still wears the number four which is an important squad number.
The MEN understand United are in talks to sign Raphael Varane and he wears number five with Real Madrid, which is interesting.