Not at sixes and sevens: Manchester United boss Moyes ‘thrilled’ as record signing Juan Mata chooses No. 8 shirt

Manchester United’s club-record signing Juan Mata will not wear the iconic No. 7, instead he will take the less revered No. 8 shirt.

It had been widely expected that the £37million purchase would follow a long line of previous United players to don the famous No. 7, including George Best, Eric Cantona, Bryan Robson, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The No. 7 squad number has been vacant since United winger Antonio Valencia freed up the number in the summer and Mata said the decision to choose the No. 8 shirt was a joint one with his new manager.

“I think 8 is a great number. I know 7 is iconic here. David Moyes and I decided 8 is good for me. Hopefully it’ll bring me luck,” he said.

“To come here is a great moment for me. I feel very happy to have the chance to play for a massive club like this.

“What I like most about this club is the character. This club fights to the end and comes back from difficult moments.”

Wayne Rooney also began his United career in Mata’s new number and the Spanish international said he was relishing the chance to link up with his new team-mate.

“He’s one of the best players in this country’s history. I’ll try to connect with him as much as I can,” he said.

Speaking at the official unveiling, United manager Moyes said he targeted Mata as soon as he was made aware of the 25-year-old’s availability.

“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,” Moyes said.

“When we heard Juan would be available we went after him. Congratulations to the club and Ed Woodward for getting it done.”

After a dismal display of transfer misfires in the summer, leading to a truly miserable first half of the season, United fans will be hoping Mata’s signing is a clear signal of intent to United’s rivals.

“There’ll be more players like Juan in the future. There’s no doubt about that,” Moyes said.

With the transfer window open until midnight on Friday and the No. 7 shirt still vacant, another huge signing may well be on the cards.

Image courtesy of United FanCribb via YouTube, with thanks.

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