Frenkie de Jong appears to be on his way to Manchester United this summer. And, if he transfers to Old Trafford, he’s unlikely to wear the number 14 shirt. At least, if history is any guide…
This summer, new arrivals at Manchester United can choose from a selection of alternative shirt numbers.
Following the departure of Paul Pogba, the No. 6 jersey is now available for targets, while Mason Greenwood’s No. 11 jersey could be assigned to someone else.
The vintage 14 and 31 jerseys worn by Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic, as well as the No 13 previously worn by Lee Grant, are available for free.
De Jong’s favorite jersey, No. 21, is also available for purchase.
However, given the present alternatives, it’s possible that the Netherlands international will not take the No. 14 spot.
When he joined Barcelona in 2019, he was given the opportunity to wear the shirt originally worn by club legend Johan Cruff.
But he later declined, claiming he didn’t want analogies drawn between the two.
“I don’t think taking the number 14 shirt is particularly prudent,” he commented three years ago.
“I don’t want to be compared to Johan Cruyff; that’s just too high.”
As a result, it is considerably more likely that De Jong will wear the No. 21 jersey if and when his move to Old Trafford is completed.
As a Dutch player, the No. 14 would impose pressure and expectations that he does not need.
De Jong earlier explained the meaning of the No 21 to him, saying that he wears it to honor his late grandfather.
“I’m at ease with that number,” the midfielder said.
“I could easily play with another number, it’s not an issue, but it’s good because it also allows people to recognize me.”
“With the exception of my grandfather Hans de Jong, my father’s father, I accompanied my entire family to my presentation in Barcelona.”
“He died the day before my 21st birthday.” Unconsciously, it is also a form of homage.
“He was a die-hard football fan.”
Meanwhile, United has already had one shirt number alteration since the Erik ten Hag era began.
Bruno Fernandes desired the No. 8 when he arrived from Sporting Lisbon, and now that Juan Mata has left, he has gotten his dream.
And he clarified why he got rid of the No. 18 by noting, “That shirt means a lot [to me].”
“There is a story behind that [number] because my father used to play with a number eight when he was younger.”
“He abandoned football because he received a job opportunity, and obviously at the time, for me, my brothers, and the rest of the family, it was preferable for him to have proper work than [to] remain playing football.”
“[The number eight] is the number he was using for two years,” he added.
“Because [becoming a footballer] was also his dream, it makes my dream a little bit of him.”