Manchester United may give Antony a new shirt number for next season

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Upon landing Antony back in the summer, Manchester United decided to give the Brazil international the club’s No 21 shirt. With No 11 still occupied by Mason Greenwood, the Red Devils opted against stripping the England international of the digits. But with there a possibility the 21-year-old won’t play for the club ever again, and with Erik ten Hag still keen on recruiting Frenkie de Jong, it’s possible things will change at the end of the campaign.

Earlier in the week it emerged that charges had been dropped against Greenwood.

And United then confirmed they were conducting an investigation as they look to determine their next course of action, saying: “Manchester United notes the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service that all charges against Mason Greenwood have been dropped.

“The club will now conduct its own process before determining next steps.

“We will not make any further comment until that process is complete.”

Right now, there is no guarantee Greenwood will play for United again. Some staff members reportedly think the club have a ‘duty of care’ for a player who has been on their books since the age of six.

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Players, however, supposedly think United don’t need the distraction of welcoming the 21-year-old back into the fold.

Should United choose to let Greenwood go, something that’s certainly possible, it will free up the No 11 shirt.

And that’s a jersey Antony could feasibly take given he previously wore the number at Ajax.

It appears to be the Brazil international’s preferred set of digits, at least if history is anything to go by.

Antony wore it during his final season at Sao Paulo before leaving for Ajax back in the summer transfer window of 2020.

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And after a year in Amsterdam he then switched from his No 39, which he’d been given upon his arrival the previous year.

Antony has also wore it for Brazil’s Olympic team in the past, as well as at Under-23 level.

At the end of the season, the Red Devils are primed to renew their interest in Barcelona star De Jong.

Ten Hag was hellbent on landing his fellow Dutchman back in the summer, with the club emboldened by the positive relationship between the two.

United even agreed a fee with Barcelona but, with De Jong wanting to resolve an issue over deferred wages, he ultimately stayed put.

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With Ten Hag working wonders at the club so far, United are optimistic they now have the pulling power back again.

And should De Jong move, he’d likely want the No 21 shirt.

Upon joining Barcelona from Ajax back in the summer transfer window of 2019, the Netherlands international revealed he was offered the club’s iconic No 14 jersey.

That was a number donned by the legendary Johan Cruyff during his days at both Barcelona and Ajax.

But he turned it down, with No 21 always his preferred pick.

Explaining his decision, he said: “I feel comfortable with that number.

“I could easily play with another number, you know, it’s not a problem, but it is nice that it also gives people a way of recognising me.

“I brought my whole family to my presentation in Barcelona, except my grandfather Hans de Jong, my father’s father.

“He died on the day of my 21st birthday. Unconsciously it is also a kind of tribute. He was a huge football fan.”

If No 11 is available come the summer, Antony is likely to switch.

And that would then give De Jong the jersey he loves the most, providing he’s able to be convinced over a move to Old Trafford. 

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