Mata takes No. 8 - What does the future hold for United's famous No. 7 shirt?

Manchester United have tied up the signature of Juan Mata from Chelsea, with the Spaniard taking the number eight shirt – but who will take number seven?

The Spaniard was introduced to the United faithful in his welcome press conference today, with David Moyes gushing over the 25-year-old, as the former Everton boss even admitted that he didn't believe they could sign the former Valencia man, given his reputation at Stamford Bridge.

"Congratulations to the club and Ed Woodward for getting it done. I'm thrilled. I got wind a month or so ago that it could be a possibility. I never really believed I'd pull it off."

Mata will take the number eight shirt at Old Trafford, which was vacated by Brazilian midfielder Anderson, who recently completed a loan move to Serie A side Fiorentina. But with many fans expecting Mata to take the number seven shirt, who is it being saved for?

The number seven shirt has been worn by some big names at Manchester United, including George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, but it's last owner – winger Antonio Valencia – decided to change his number back to 25 before the start of this season, in a superstitious bid to recapture his previous form.

With Moyes still on the look out for new recruits, who could take the prestigious number seven jersey before the January transfer window slams shut?

Borussia Monchengladbach winger Patrick Herrmann would appear to be the favourite at the moment, after Moyes was spotted watching their game against Bayern Munich this weekend. The 22-year-old winger has replaced Marco Reus for the Bundesliga side, and is now the subject of interest from United as Moyes lines up an £8.5m bid for Herrmann – who happens to wear number seven for Monchengladbach.

Another candidate would be Real Sociedad winger Antoine Griezmann, who featured against the Red Devils in the Champions League. The Frenchman is another player who already wears number seven for his current club, and with a £12.5m fee rumoured earlier this month, 22-year-old Griezmann would fit in budget and provide a spark on the flanks in lieu of Nani, Ashley Young and the aforementioned Valencia.

Of course, United fans will be praying that a sensational return from Cristiano Ronaldo is on the cards, but that won't be happening any time soon. The shirt may even be left open until the summer, where new wing magician Adnan Januzaj could take over the ownership, and become the latest exceptional talent to don the famous jersey at Old Trafford.

image: © Carlos RM

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