FORMER Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo has joined Manchester United on loan from Chinese side Shenhua until the end of the season in a dramatic deadline day deal that will see him spend the next six months at Old Trafford.
Ighalo, 30, who played for Watford in the English Premier League between 2014 and 2017, has spent the last three years plying his trade in the Chinese league. While at Watford, Ighalo scored 16 goals in 55 Premier League appearances and given his pedigree, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. has decided to sign him as short-term cover for the injured England international Marcus Rashford.
Between 2015 and 2019, Ighalo was Nigerians leading striker, leading the line for the Super Eagles and has 36 international goals to his credit. After last year’s African Cup of Nations in Egypt, Ighalo decided to retire from international football after emerging as the tournament’s top goal scorer.
Later on today, Ighalo is expected to fly into Manchester, having already had his medical in China and he expected to be available for action as from next weekend. At the end of the season, however, Ighalo is expected to return to China as the deal does not include an option to buy, as come the end of the campaign, the reds are likely to look at younger options such as Bournemouth striker Joshua King, for whom a £20m bid was rejected yesterday.
Mr Solskjaer said: “Odion is an experienced player and he will come in and give us an option of a different type of centre-forward for the short spell he’s staying with us. A great lad and very professional, he will make the most of his time here.”
Ighalo first moved to Chinese Super League side Changchun Yatai, before he joined Shanghai Shenhua in February 2019. He was in great demand as the transfer deadline window closed yesterday, with Tottenham Hotspurs also making a late attempt to secure a loan deal for the striker.
Inter Milan also wanted to sign Ighalo when their pursuit of Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud failed but Ighalo had his heart set on a move back to English football. After the home game against Wolves today, Manchester United have a 16-day gap before they play Chelsea in their next Premier League fixture and Ighalo could feature in that game.