If Alexis Sanchez quivers at the number 7, he's not the man for United
#Alexis7 will tog out for Manchester United’s blockbuster clash with Yeovil Town. That’s Alexis Sanchez, for all you none-twitter savvy football fans out there.
He’ll wear number seven, in case you haven’t heard for the 1000th time - the famous Man United number seven.
I doubt that Sanchez dreamed that his first game for ‘the biggest club in the world’ - as he described it - would come against a League Two side, but such is life.
Much has been made about his mega-transfer to Jose Mourinho’s side. The money, the agent-fees, the wages and, the number he’ll wear.
The history of the number seven has been well documented through the years. Practically everyone who has worn it has been cast under the microscope.
Best, Robson, Cantona, Beckham, Ronaldo; Hard names to live up to, and something United’s most recent number 7’s have failed to do.
Antonio Valencia had a go, but he didn’t like the pressure of the shirt so he returned to his regular number 25 and has thrived at right-back since.
Angel Di Maria donned the shirt after arriving as Louis Van Gaal’s big summer signing in 2014 and a combination of family issues and a falling out with the manager led to inconsistency on the pitch.
And of course, there is Memphis Depay. The twinkle-toed dutchman who was expected to change the fortune of the metaphorically heavy jersey around.
Unfortunately for United fans, he too failed to live up to expectations.
So how will Alexis Sanchez cope under the pressure of being the new man in the shirt? Should he even feel any pressure?
If he does, then United have a problem.
The two main traits previous number 7’s had in common were: Supreme ability, and supreme confidence in that ability.
So, if you’re trying to live up to these names and you don’t have both, you’re in trouble.
This could be at the heart of this issues Di Maria and Depay had when they failed to emulate the players before them.
Di Maria had the talent - he showed this at Real Madrid - but his failure to settle in, in Manchester meant his confidence was shot.
Memphis Depay the opposite - too much confidence and perhaps not enough talent to back it up.
Sanchez, on the other hand, is the full package.
Since signing for Arsenal, he has been one of the stand out players in the Premier League and he has not shrunk under the pressure of being a key man for the team.
His panenka style penalty in the Copa America final against Argentina - the penalty which secured Chile’s first major trophy - is just one example of when he combined these two traits.
He will undoubtedly go straight into Mourinho’s side and if some of the reported wages are true, United can’t afford for him to quiver at the thought of wearing a specific number.
If it really came down to that, then this would be a waste of time for everybody.
What they need is a player who can take them to the next level, and put a real push in for the Champions League.
So you can look at it one of two ways.
You can say Manchester United have finally found a new number 7, their new star man; someone who they can flaunt and sell as another commercial asset to the club
Or they have found a player who has the ability to bring success.
As much as commercial revenue means to the Glazers, you surely have to hope they look at it as the latter.