Manchester United have announced the squad numbers that the team will wear in the 2013/2014 season.
Antonio Valencia has taken up the #25 shirt that he originally had when he joined United and handed back the #7 shirt while Wilfried Zaha (29) and Guillermo Varela (30) have both been given their numbers for next year. As well as those, Nick Powell has taken up the #32 shirt while Fabio has picked up #22.
It means that United have left the #7 and #9 shirt vacant. Last year, Valencia specifically asked to be given #7 after his barnstorming 2011/2012 season but requested to revert back to his old number. Whether that is simply to avoid the added pressures of being United’s #7 or because it is in preparation for a potential signing remains t0 be seen but seldom do you ever see a player hand back a shirt they asked for just 12 months later.
I am surprised that Danny Welbeck or Javier Hernandez were not named United’s new #9. Both would have been worthy holders of the shirt that has been left unused since Dimitar Berbatov’s departure.
Leaving the #7 and #9 shirts vacant may simply be a case of United not wanting to give them to any players in the squad but in the corporate sense, it would seem very strange for United to leave such marketable numbers empty next season.