After spending more time with the physio than on the field, it will be fantastic to once again see the famous red number 7 shirt grace the green grass of Old Trafford. But which player will have the almost mystical number on their back?
To begin with, let's take a look at the possible candidates. The first place to look is on the right wing where the likes of David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and George Best have tormented left-backs all over Europe.
Firstly, the fleet-footed Portuguese international, Nani. The 25-year-old both amazes and frustrates, despite his increasing number of goals and assists, with people still expecting more from someone who has shown, though intermittently, so much raw talent. The man also seems to have become bored with winning in England and is looking for challenges elsewhere. Apparently, having a Giggs-like career is repellent to modern footballers. Thus, can Nani really be entrusted with a number so important to the club and all its fans?
Now looking at the more classical right winger, Antonio Valencia. At 26, he will be entering his prime. Valencia is definitely a fantastic player who combines well with Rooney and he comes good during the second half of the season. But is he the match winner befitting the number 7?
Switching over to the other flank, famously patrolled by the Welsh wide man, Ryan Giggs. The 26-year-old Ashely Young, another player entering his prime, is definitely a match winner with his delicate passing behind the front men and his curling shots from outside the box. However, bar the signing of another Welsh left winger in Bale, it's more likely that the number 11 is destined to appear on Young's back.
Up front, the number 7 used to appear on the back of the King. The Frenchman Eric Cantona won titles while scoring a bucket-load of goals for United. But apart from Rooney, none of the current crop of front men, seem worthy of wearing the number 7. So if Rooney decides to trade in his 10, should he get the number 7?
Now let's look at the arrivals section of Old Trafford. Firstly, the samurai from Japan, Shinji Kagawa is definitely capable of becoming a success for United as well as providing the creative spark from midfield. Can the 23-year-old become the first Asian player to wear Manchester United's coveted number 7?
Finally, an outside choice, though more realistic than many may think. In 2003, a relatively unknown 18-year-old named Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at Old Trafford requesting the number 28. He instead received the number 7, along with the manager's confidence and high expectations. It is now 2012 and a new 18-year-old in Nick Powell has arrived at the Theatre of Dreams. The young talent has undoubted potential and the challenge, from the manager, to follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo. Will Powell follow those steps with the same number on his back?
We shall soon see. Of course, come the end of the day, it is just a number. Any player should be expected to play as well with the number 77 on his back. But when it comes to the number 7 on the back that red shirt, it becomes a magical number, steeped with tradition and history. It certainly has a high importance among the supporters of Manchester United.
Calling all Manchester United fans: Who do you think deserves to have the number 7 shirt at Old Trafford? Would you give it to Wayne Rooney? What about Shinji Kagawa? Should Valencia get it? Whatever your view we'd love to hear from you.