Manchester United’s latest signing Memphis Depay has been handed the club’s No. 26 shirt.
This is according to the Manchester Evening News, who noticed - along with a host of eagle-eyed Twitter users - that Depay was wearing the number vacated by Shinji Kagawa on his shorts during his first training session with his new employers on Monday.
The report states that while it was not uncommon for new signings to wear the numbers of other players during training sessions in the past, that doesn’t tend to happen these days and subsequently the Dutch winger will wear the inauspicious shirt number.
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Members of the Red Devils’ faithful have voiced their concern that Depay will wear 26 due to the previous three Manchester United players who have donned the number.
Kagawa vacated it in the summer of 2014 following a disappointing two-year spell at Old Trafford, while Gabriel Obertan wore it before the Japan international.
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Obertan and Manucho were disasters
Obertan was signed by United for £3 million from Bordeaux in 2009 - the same summer, incidentally, that Michael Owen was handed the club’s iconic No. 7 shirt - but made just 14 Premier League appearances for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side before being shipped off to Newcastle United two years later.
Before Obertan, the similarly disastrous Manucho wore number 26 at Old Trafford. The Angolan striker played just one Premier League match for the Red Devils.
The MEN make the point, though, that Luke Shaw wore Manchester United’s No. 28 shirt in the United States before being handed the No. 3 jersey - vacated by Patrice Evra - before the start of the 2014-15 campaign.
Big things expected from Memphis Depay
There is a chance, then, that Depay will be assigned another squad number - although there aren’t too many obvious numbers available at this moment in time.
Manchester United still need a new No. 9 following the departure of Radamel Falcao, but that coveted number is likely to be handed to a new centre forward rather than Depay, even though there is speculation that Louis van Gaal will see what the Netherlands international can do through the middle during the club’s upcoming pre-season tour.
Number 15 is also vacant, meanwhile, as are 23, 24, 27, 28 and 29.
Big things are expected of Depay, who cost Manchester United £31 million to sign from PSV Eindhoven this summer, and fans should catch their first glimpse of the 21-year-old wearing the famous red shirt when Van Gaal’s side take on Club America on July 17.
Manchester United fans: are you worried that Memphis Depay has been handed the No. 26 shirt? Does it really matter? Have your say in the comments below!