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Lukaku and Lindelöf confirm their shirt numbers

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It’s the most important Manchester United news of the summer — what number will the newbies take?

Manchester United Media Access Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

We’ll do the obvious news first, since it isn’t really news at all: Romelu Lukaku will wear the number 9 shirt. We knew this already, since apparently the Belgian striker asked permission from his predecessor, Zlatan Ibrahimović. How very polite. Don’t remember Zlatan extending the same courtesy to Anthony Martial.

Lukaku therefore becomes United’s fourth no. 9 in as many seasons, following Ibrahimović, Martial and Falcao. Here’s hoping he hangs onto it for a little longer.

Meanwhile in defence, Victor Lindelöf has taken the number 2 shirt. This isn’t a problem necessarily, but does mean that United could line up next season with numbers 2 and 3 — Lindelöf and Eric Bailly — in the middle of defence, when everybody knows that those numbers belong, by rights, to the full-backs.

Lindelöf can fill in at right-back, apparently, so maybe that’s where he’ll end up. Or maybe he and José Mourinho simply don’t care for tradition. But we think the most likely option is that United, this season, will be resurrecting the 2-3-5. A front line of Rashford-Mkhitaryan-Lukaku-Mata-Valencia, and just Lindelöf and Bailly to take care of things at the back. Delicious.