Since joining Manchester United on a loan deal in January, Odion Ighalo has proved to be a sensation. The 30-year-old was also a hit when he was last in the Premier League with Watford. He enjoyed one incredible season with the Hornets in 2015/16 – scoring 15 Premier League goals in 37 games – before a disappointing goal drought the next season. This prompted the Hertfordshire club to cash in on the forward; he was sold for an alleged £20M fee to Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.
Ighalo has managed to rack up a wonderful 46 goals in 72 games overall in the CSL. It is clear that Ighalo only moved to China because of the money. However, as soon as the Red Devils came knocking on his door, it was barely a choice between the incredible money or playing for his boyhood club.
When Ighalo signed for United, the fans weren’t too happy with the board. The move was described by fans as a “risk-free transfer” because nobody knew if he would be ready to play for a club with their reputation, and it was only a loan move – he would return at the end of the season if he wasn’t good enough, anyway.
However, these fans should have chosen their words carefully. Despite only playing 318 minutes of football for the Northern club, Ighalo has impressed with 4 goals. Now the fans are begging for him to not return to China.
Ighalo loves Manchester United. He told Sky that, as a child, he spent his lunch money on watching his favourite club. When playing for Watford at Old Trafford, Ighalo had the chance to set up his former-teammate Deeney for a guaranteed goal. However, he didn’t pass. Ighalo opted for the spectacular – he took a shot that went very far wide of the post because he was desperate to score at the Theatre of Dreams. Now that he plays for United, he doesn’t want to leave.
But Ighalo’s dreams may have to be shattered – at least for the time being – because his loan deal will expire in a matter of days, before the Premier League restarts on June 17th. United are allowed the option to sign him for £20M this summer, but they are eager to have him for the remainder of the season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are fighting for a Champions League spot, and the striker could be exactly what they need to achieve their target.
Finances may have been threatened by the coronavirus pandemic, but Ighalo could become one of the highest-paid stars in world football on £480,000-a-week. However, Ighalo is willing to put that deal at risk by pleading with Shanghai to let him stay in England.
United’s boss Solskjaer wants Ighalo to “finish what he started” with the club.
“The loan deal went until the end of May now, so obviously he’s supposed to be going back,” Solskjaer told MUTV.
“We’re in dialogue. They’ve been great towards us, his club, and allowed him to play for his dream club.
“It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish off what he started, hopefully with a trophy for us. At the moment, nothing has been agreed. Their league is going to get started soon so we’re just waiting to see.”