Johnny Berry, George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Manchester United No.7 is one of the most iconic in football, and for good reason. Some of the biggest and best names in the sport have pulled on the jersey, and this summer it's time to find another.
Louis van Gaal is soon set to return from the World Cup after a third-place playoff against Brazil but United has already made waves in the transfer window. Luke Shaw arrived from Southampton for 30 million pounds and will ideally fill the left back role for at least a decade. A day earlier, Ander Herrera signed from Athletic Bilbao and will be charged with bringing energy and a creative spark to the center of midfield.
Fans will be hoping it is just the start for United. In truth it will have to be. The club still needs at least one central defender to compensate for the loss of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, and some competition for Rafael at right back would not go amiss.
But it is finding the next superstar to don the No.7 shirt which will fill fans with most excitement. The most recent incumbents, it is fair to say, have not captured the imagination. Michael Owen was the surprising choice to take ownership when Ronaldo left for Real Madrid five years ago, before Antonio Valencia took it on for a season only to give it up ahead of the 2013-14 campaign.
United's struggles in last summer's transfer market are well known, and the No.7 remained unused for the first half of the season. Juan Mata was expected to inherit it when he signed in January, but he took the No.8.
This summer, United fans will be hoping a real star of the game rocks up at Old Trafford and takes the No.7 in his stride. But who? United has made its interest known in Alexis Sanchez but the Chilean seems set on a move to Arsenal. The Barcelona man would have been a ready-made solution to United's right-sided problems given his pace and dribbling skills and the positional sense he has perfected at Camp Nou.
But with Alexis seemingly out of reach, it could well be Angel Di Maria to make the move to Manchester. Reports in Spain are gathering pace that the Argentine will leave Real Madrid this summer to make way for James Rodriguez.
United and Paris Saint-Germain are said to be willing to pay more than £48 million, and it is certainly an exciting prospect. He is no longer a classic winger, having been converted to a so-called dual role in a midfield three for both club and country, and that will surely suit Van Gaal down to the ground.
Should Di Maria reject United's advances, the World Cup will have provided several other candidates. Fiorentina now has sole ownership of Colombia's mercurial winger Juan Cuadrado, and United may feel confident of dealing with just one potential seller.
Arjen Robben, like most of the Netherlands squad, has also been linked with Old Trafford, and the quicksilver Bayern Munich winger would be a worthy wearer of the No.7 shirt - if he didn't fancy the challenge of taking on Ryan Giggs' 11.
Whoever it may be, the post-World Cup treasure hunt is about to reach full frenzy - Manchester United fans will be hoping they come out of it clutching a diamond.
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