Man United’s Worst Ever Number 7s

In this article we are ranking Man United’s worst ever number 7s in the history of one of football’s most iconic jerseys.

Mason Mount was announced this July as Manchester United’s first summer signing from Chelsea on a contract running until June 2028, with the option of a further year.

Man United’s New Number 7 – Mason Mount

During his time with Chelsea, the 24-year-old midfielder made 279 club appearances, scoring 58 goals and contributing 53 assists, winning the Champions League and Chelsea’s Player of the Year for both the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has been seemingly an admirer of Mason Mount for some time, so it was no surprise that when he became available in the market that the club would swoop in to bring him to Old Trafford.

What’s more surprising is that the Dutch manager handed him the iconic #7 shirt in a move which has gathered much debate online, with many debating the merits of putting such a heavy burden of responsibility on the signing.

Profile of a Man United Number 7

This author disagrees with giving Mount the #7, not for any of the above reasons but because he simply isn’t that profile of player. The #7 is usually reserved for a World Class name or tricky winger, and it hasn’t been held by a midfielder since it was worn by the iconic figure Bryan Robson for the 93/94 season, but Mount certainly doesn’t fit the criteria he did.

People can say it’s just a shirt and that the number doesn’t matter, and on the surface, they would be right? But it means nothing until it does, and that number is sown into the fabric of the club. It’s not for everyone either, for example Vidic, Ferdinand and Carrick are all club legends, but they are not #7s.

Speaking of players who shouldn’t have been given the number 7, here are the worst in the club’s history.

Man United’s Worst Ever Number 7s

5. Michael Owen

In my opinion Owen should have never really have been considered as a signing for Manchester United, never mind for the number 7 jersey, given his eight-year stint with Liverpool from 1996-2004.

However,  Sir Alex, crippled by the Glazers, saw a player in Owen that could be milked for a little while more. So on the 3rd of July 2009, it was announced that Owen signed a two-year pay-as-you-play deal with Man United.

While his time was marred with injuries, his last-minute winner in the Manchester Derby will forever be entrenched in club history.

In three seasons, Owen played 52 games, netted 17 goals and contributed 3 assists which worked out as a G/A/90 of  0.95, winning three trophies, including a Premier League title.

4. Edinson Cavani

The Uruguayan joined in the summer of 2020 and, at least in the beginning, became a fan favourite not just for his clinical finishing but more so for his tireless and selfless work rate for the team.

He even gave up the #7 for the return of Ronaldo, so why is he ranked on this list? Well, despite having a solid season when he had the #7 with 17 goals and 6 assists in 39 games, a G/A/90 of 0.95. Had he left after one season and/or won a trophy during his time, he certainly would’ve at least come one place better ahead of Owen.

3. Memphis Depay

After joining the club from PSV in 2015 with a reputation as one of Europe’s hottest prospects, Depay was immediately given the #7 shirt. Despite clearly being a talented footballer going on to play for Lyon, Barcelona and Athletico Madrid, he never really got going at Man United.

Depay struggled to adapt to the Premier League’s physicality and pace. The Dutch international managed to score just seven goals in 53 appearances over two seasons at the club. It is the expectation level from his signing and what he has done since that ranks him so high on this list.

2. Di Maria

Joining Manchester United on the back of an impressive 2014 World Cup, huge things were expected of Angel Di Maria. And on the surface, his record of 4 goals and 12 assists in 32 matches seems respectable, albeit not World Class.

However, a large amount of that tally came early in the season, and things quickly turned sour with Di Maria struggling on the field with performances. Off-the-field there was drama too as he was unhappy with the Manchester weather (yes, really) alongside his house being burgled.

His attitude, inconsistency, and the fact he came out afterwards saying he didn’t want to sign for the club and he didn’t care about the #7 is more than enough reason to rank him so high on this list.

1. Alexis Sanchez

It’s saying something when one of the best things about your time at the club was the signing announcement video, but unfortunately, when it comes to Sanchez, that is very much the case.

Sanchez signed for the club in January 2022 in a swap deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move to Arsenal. During his 45 games as a Man United player he scored 9 goals, contributed 9 assists while his highlight was playing a major part in a Manchester Derby comeback.

The biggest problem with Sanchez’s arrival in January 2018 was not the high expectations but the fact that his reported £400,000-per-week contract single handily destroyed the wage structure at the club. Something which the club is still suffering because of today, had he been an 80K a week signing nobody would’ve batted an eye over this deal.

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