Edinson Cavani is proving to be a lucky charm for Manchester United. In all four Premier League games he has started, United have a 100 per cent record.
Cavani’s goal got United back on level terms against Fulham in midweek in a 2-1 win, and this is likely to be the first of many goals he scores in 2021.
In attack, the Uruguayan is delivering, and that is so important considering both Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood have temporarily at least, taken a step back this season.
If any United fans had doubts about Cavani heading into the deal, which existed mainly due to the failure of other players, then the South American has already answered them.
It is great to see him succeeding early on, and one of the things he has done quietly is end a long line of failure in United’s famed number seven shirt.
Ever since Cristiano Ronaldo left in 2009 for Real Madrid, United have failed to find a successful number seven.
Post-Cristiano Ronaldo #7s at Manchester United
- Michael Owen (2009-2012)
A promising start for Owen quickly faded. The former Liverpool striker struggled with injuries and scored just five Premier League goals.
- Antonio Valencia (2012-2013)
Valencia was a steady performer for United, and the hope was that giving him the number 7 shirt could lift his game to another level. Instead he went backwards and asked to go back to number 25.
- Angel di Maria (2014-2015)
United had high hopes for Di Maria after paying £63 million for him. His form tanked after a promising start and he just gave up, forcing a move to PSG.
- Memphis Depay (2015-2017)
The number seven shirt was too much too soon for Memphis Depay, who was all hype and little substance. The Dutchman scored only two Premier League goals and was sold to Lyon.
- Alexis Sanchez (2018-2020)
United sought to solve the number seven dilemma by giving the shirt to a proven Premier League performer. Unfortunately Sanchez’s performance level collapsed. He scored just three league goals.
- Edinson Cavani (2020 – present)
United may finally have found a worthy successor to Ronaldo. He already has more league goals than both Sanchez and Depay managed.
A burden lifted
With a poor run of success like this, it’s little wonder the word ‘curse’ was connected with United’s number seven shirt over the past decade.
The club tried a bit of everything, from giving it to a player already at the club (Valencia) to experienced internationals (Owen, Di Maria), proven league performers (Sanchez) and up and coming talents (Depay).
Cavani is doing what others have failed to do, and he is making it look easy, and effortless. He is a great fit; a class act who does his talking on the pitch and produces the goods.
There was much speculation young talent Jadon Sancho could have come in and landed the seven shirt. But United would not have been making it easy for him by giving him a number with a decade of bad luck behind it, on top of a record transfer fee.
Cavani is succeeding now, and he is also making life easier for United’s next number seven after him.
It is looking like a shrewd short-term and long-term move to get Cavani in, and he could end up wearing the number seven shirt for another two or three seasons yet.
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