Jadon Sancho is expected to become Manchester United’s new number seven.
The 20-year-old, who is poised to join the Red Devils in a deal worth up to £110 million from Borussia Dortmund, will take the club’s iconic number currently occupies by Alexis Sanchez.
Sanchez is on the brink of sealing a permanent move to Inter Milan which, in turn, will free up the funds required to sign Sancho.
Sanchez was earning a staggering £350,000 a week basic at Old Trafford, although add-ons, bonuses and image rights meant that figure had the potential to reach a staggering £560,000 a week.
Sancho, on the other hand, will earn £220,000 a week – making him United’s fourth-highest earner.
As Sancho closes in on his move to Old Trafford, let’s look back at every United No. 7 of the Premier League era, and attempt to rank them in order from worst to best.
8. Alexis Sanchez
An unmitigated disaster of a signing.
Sanchez was arguably the best player in the Premier League during his four-year spell with Arsenal but managed to score just five goals in 45 (mostly dreadful) appearances for the Red Devils.
Playing under Jose Mourinho probably didn’t help, although he hardly improved when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over at the end of 2018.
The amount of money United have wasted on Sanchez’s wages is, quite frankly, shameful.
7. Angel Di Maria
Another terrible big-name signing, it never really felt like Angel Di Maria truly wanted to be at Old Trafford.
The Argentine left Real Madrid in the summer of 2014 after Los Blancos signed James Rodriguez, and Paris Saint-Germain was reportedly his preferred destination.
But he ended up joining United in a deal worth £59.7 million – a British record at the time – and was mostly woeful.
He showed the odd glimpse of world-class quality – including *that* beautiful chip against Leicester City – but the bad performances far outweighed the good.
6. Memphis Depay
Man Utd fans thought they’d signed the next Cristiano Ronaldo when they sealed Memphis Depay’s services from PSV Eindhoven in 2015.
But it quickly became apparent that, despite his obvious talent, Memphis lacked the required mindset to succeed at one of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Perhaps that’s no longer the case. Memphis is 26 now and would have learned an awful lot from his experience at Old Trafford.
5. Michael Owen
Michael Owen took Ronaldo’s No. 7 shirt in the summer of 2009 after completing a shock free transfer to Old Trafford.
The former Liverpool star immediately endeared himself to United fans by scoring one of the club’s most memorable goals of the Premier League era – *that* winner in a 4-3 win over local rivals Manchester City.
He also scored a Champions League hat-trick against Wolfsburg and left Old Trafford with Premier League, League Cup and Community Shield winners’ medals.
4. Antonio Valencia
Unlike one or two others on this list, Antonio Valencia can hold his head up high and say he gave his all for Manchester United.
The Ecuador international played 339 games for the Premier League giants, scoring 25 goals, and also captained the club towards the end of his 10-year tenure.
Valencia arrived as an attacking winger and left as a defensive-minded right-back.
3. David Beckham
Make no mistake about it: even though David Beckham is incredibly famous, he was also a top-class footballer.
The former England captain, who is arguably the best set-piece taker of all time, scored 85 goals in 394 games for United – the club he supported as a boy – and won a host of major honours before joining Real Madrid in 2003.
Beckham probably would have spent most – if not all – of his career at the Theatre of Dreams if he hadn’t fallen out with Sir Alex Ferguson.
United’s loss was Madrid’s gain, although the Red Devils did sign Ronaldo as a replacement.
2. Eric Cantona
You can’t overstate how important Eric Cantona was to Man Utd during his unforgettable five-year spell at Old Trafford.
The mercurial Frenchman inspired Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to four Premier League titles and two FA Cups.
United fans regard him as one of the club’s greatest ever players and still proudly chant his name at games today, more than 20 years since he stunned the world by retiring aged just 30.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Even though he was obviously brilliant for Man Utd, putting Ronaldo top of this list above Cantona wasn’t easy – especially when you remember that the Portuguese forward was very inconsistent during his first three seasons at Old Trafford.
That said, he was on a totally different level to any other player either at Man Utd or the Premier League as a whole between 2006-2009.
Ronaldo inspired United to three consecutive Premier League titles (2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09) and the Champions League in 2008.
He also became the first Man Utd player to win the coveted Ballon d’Or award since George Best (another legendary No. 7) back in 1968.
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