It did not come as a surprise to many when Manchester United announced the signing of Odion Ighalo on a loan deal from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua on transfer deadline day. United had been in desperate search for a striker and after failing to sign numerous other targets, the club settled for Ighalo.
Announcing the signing, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said “Odion is an experienced player. 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.“ Ighalo thus became the first ever Nigerian to sign for the Premier League club.
Many reactions followed his signing as pundits, supporters and the press expressed their doubts as to whether Ighalo would have an instant impact in the club however others believed he would do well given his Premier League record with Watford. Ighalo has however proven his doubters wrong with a fine run of four goals and an assist in just eight games but this form was halted by the CoronaVirus pandemic as the league was suspended.
Ighalo’s loan deal expires May 31 and he could be recalled by his parent club. It had been previously reported that Shanghai Shenhua had offered Ighalo a new contract worth £400,000 per week and it is not known if United would like to make his signing permanent. Last month, Ighalo said that he was open to signing for United on a permanent basis but had not received an offer and has reiterated that remains the case. “I would like to finish the season if it’s possible, ” Ighalo told the BBC World Service. “I was in good form, good shape, scoring goals and now we’ve stopped for over a month, I’m on loan until the end of the season, which has not expired. Now it’s for us to finish the season very well, I will do well, score more goals, if possible, then after the season we’ll see what’s on the table. I’ve given it my best and hopefully we’ll come back to play.
“Of course, I’m enjoying my time there, so if something comes up, why not? We’ll see it, study it – if it’s what’s good for me – and, of course, my agent decides this.”
United have nothing to lose should they decide to sign Ighalo on a permanent basis, he has proven to be an effective striker for the club during the short time he has played.
As much as Solskjaer in his rebuild of the club has made signing young players a priority, the club still needs experienced players especially in the very position where Ighalo plays at centre forward. He is 30 and has about 4 – 5 years at the very least which is enough time for the club to get a young striker who can develop progressively.
United’s attack has worn a new look with the addition of Ighalo who has blended into the team, his control of the ball and composure in front of goal are fantastic as can be seen even in his goal against Lask Linz in the Europa League, that goal was voted as the Europa League goal of the week.
Given that Ighalo had been a Man United fan from his childhood and has stated that he is open to listening to an offer of a permanent contract from the club, it would be in the best interest of United to sign him permanently as they would get a good player who is passionate about the club and would play not just for the money but for the badge. Therefore this article is of the opinion that Odion Ighalo deserves and should be signed permanently by Manchester United.