Before I go on writing this blog post I want to make it clear that it is a reaction to what I have been reading on Twitter and other media outlets. This means what I am writing is my own opinion formed from rumours I have read and not from facts.
This morning I woke to find Twitter in meltdown over Anthony Martial and his change of shirt number from 9, to 11.
I have read on various websites and blogs that he is “annoyed” with Manchester United – mainly because he just launched his “AM9” brand – and that he has unfollowed the club on both Twitter and Instagram.
Fans have reacted on Twitter by both attacking and defending the player.
Before I give my opinion on the matter, not that it is in any way important, I would also like to mention something else I read this morning. I read that United had apparently told Zlatan Ibrahimovic he could have any number he wanted and so he chose Martial’s number, 9.
Okay, I get that Martial may be a little upset with the number change due to his “AM9” brand being launched. But he only has himself to blame for that. Sure, Cristiano Ronaldo uses his number 7 in his branding. But Ronaldo had that number for years. Martial has had the number 9 for ONE year and doesn’t even wear it when he plays for France.
How did Martial know he wasn’t going to have a tough season next year and perhaps lose the number 9 shirt the year after if another proven, world class striker was brought in? I say that with the assumption that plans to create the “AM9” brand started some time ago, before the Zlatan rumours surfaced.
Since when did players assume that they immediately own a shirt number once they have it? Shirt numbers change all the time.
And yeah, okay, you could argue that the club maybe should have said something to him in advance to show him a little respect. However, I don’t necessarily agree with that. At the end of the day, it wouldn’t have changed anything. Martial was losing the number 9 shirt and he would have still had his back up.
Now the bigger problem here is how Manchester United apparently gave so much freedom to Ibrahimovic, telling him he could have any number he wanted. This would be United pulling out a lovely, rouge lipstick, applying it, puckering up and planting one right on Zlatan’s derriere while gently whispering, “No Zlatan, you are bigger than us. You can have anything you want.”
What happened to “no one is bigger than the club”?
I hope it’s not true that Zlatan had the pick of any number. I would have hoped United would have told Zlatan he could have any of the AVAILABLE numbers. Zlatan is a grown man. I’m sure he would have been okay with picking any available number. Right?
At the end of the day, the club should make the choice on who has what number and not have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings. United should not have to sit down with Martial (or any other player for that matter) and tell him his number would be changing.
If Martial decided to use the number 9 in his branding then that’s on him. Did he discuss using the number in his branding with the club? I bet he didn’t.
As far as I am concerned you get given a number and you play.