Robin van Persie has turned down the opportunity to wear No 9 at Manchester United next season and will stick with No 20.
The 29-year-old striker arrived at Old Trafford before the departure of Dimitar Berbatov so the No 9 shirt wasn’t available and he took up the free No 20 shirt left vacant after Fabio left on loan to QPR.
And despite No 9 being free this year, van Persie has chosen to stick with the No 20 shirt that brought him good luck this year.
Speaking to Inside United, van Persie said: “I think I’ll keep it [the no.20 shirt]. I have the option to take no.9 but I don’t think I’ll do that.
“I’ll stick with what is right and what feels good. Also, I don’t want to be harsh to the fans who have no.20 on their kit.
“I don’t want them to have to buy a new shirt. [No.20] has been a good number for me. I’ll stick with it.”
He’s a really classy guy isn’t he? It’s great that he would think of the fans splashing out let alone reject the No 9 shirt partly because of it.
In the days where numbers were very much correlated to positions, the No 9 was the archetypal striker, so it would have been fitting if van Persie took up the shirt that has also been previously held by Brian McClair who scored 127 goals in 421 appearances and Andy Cole who scored 121 goals in 275 appearances.
Van Persie admitted that he took the No 20 shirt when he joined United because he was ‘here to win a 20th title with United’ and he did, so he is sticking with it.
That means that the No 9 shirt is up for grabs. A possible candidate would be Wilfried Zaha or maybe it would be someone further afield if United were to sign another striker.