New signing Juan Mata could follow Manchester United legends Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo in wearing the No 7 shirt.
Manchester United will announce Juan Mata’s Old Trafford squad number when the £37.1 million club record transfer is registered with the Premier League today raising the prospect of the Spaniard becoming the latest player to wear the iconic No 7 shirt.
With Wayne Rooney occupying the No 10 shirt worn by Mata at Chelsea, the 25-year-old is likely to be given the option of seven or nine – both currently vacant.
With George Best wearing a variety of numbers depending on his position each match, and more often 11 than seven, Bryan Robson is regarded as United’s first celebrated No 7, the midfielder having worn the shirt for more than a decade until Eric Cantona in November 1992.
When Cantona retired in 1997, David Beckham was handed the No 7 shirt by Sir Alex Ferguson, who then bestowed the shirt on his replacement, a teenaged Cristiano Ronaldo, in 2003.
Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia have since worn the shirt. Valencia relinquished it last summer to return to No 25 after a difficult 12 months in the No 7 shirt.