When Michael Carrick was handed the number 16 shirt upon his arrival at Manchester United, it was almost written into the stars that the midfielder would go on to enjoy a similarly successful career to the man who had worn it before: Roy Keane.
Indeed, following the announcement of his signing back in 2006, Sir Alex Ferguson remarked how the fact Carrick was so open to taking the shirt number spoke volumes of the kind of character that they were getting.
He said: “He has settled down fine, I spoke to him today. I said to him ‘I’m giving you the number 16 jersey’ so he was delighted at that. I think that showed great courage because sometimes players are a bit superstitious about things like that but he was keen, and said he would gladly take number 16.”
And Carrick more than made his presence felt at Old Trafford in his playing days. He made an impressive 464 appearances for the club, scoring 23 goals and providing 36 further assists.
He formed a key part of the United side that was so dominant in both domestic and European football in the late 2000s and early 2010s, winning the Premier League five times, the Champions League once, the Europa League once, the FA Cup once, and the League Cup three times.
But whilst that alone would have been enough to say that Carrick more than justified Ferguson’s decision to sign him in the first place, the fact he is now a first-team coach at Old Trafford under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s management shows the Red Devils have got more than their money’s worth.
He was a key part of their successful part, and is now helping to shape the present too. And with him now so closely entwined in matters at United, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that he could well be in the running to even manage the side a few years down the line if and when he sees fit.
That 2006 move continues to influence the Red Devils in such a positive way even now.
Meanwhile, Man Utd must swoop for this Serie A ace.