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Player Profile: Odion Ighalo

Everything you need to know about United’s new striker

FBL-AFR-2019-MATCH42-NGA-CMR Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

There were a lot of names thrown around this winter transfer season as possible additions to Manchester United. One that wasn’t mentioned until late, was former Watford Striker Odion Ighalo. Who is he and why did Manchester United want him?

Ighalo is Manchester United’s first-ever Nigerian born player. The 30-year-old proves that dreams can come true. As a lifelong fan of Manchester United, he will finally get his chance to play for the team he has supported since childhood.

In an interview from 2015, shortly after Watford secured promotion to the English Premier League, Ighalo commented on his dream of playing at Old Trafford.

“When I was young in Nigeria I supported Man United, so it will be a dream come true for me to play at Old Trafford.

“To play against the team I have been supporting since my youth days, and I am very happy about that. I’m looking forward to the challenge and the experience.”

Having played in the Premier League three seasons ago, Ighalo had an impressive run in England, scoring 40 goals and registering 11 assists in 100 appearances for Watford, where he spent two-and-a-half-years. That’s a one-in-two ratio for goal involvements.

After taking an offer to play in the Chinese Super League during the January transfer window of the 2017 season, Ighalo spent two seasons with Changchun Yatai before signing a £300,000-a-week wage contract with Shanghai Shenhua, where he won the Chinese FA Cup in 2019.

His stats in China are impressive and United hope he can bring his goal-scoring capabilities to their beleaguered attack.

Odion Ighalo in China:

  • 70 starts [6129 minutes]
  • 46 goals & 8 assists
  • 0.79 goal contributions per 90

Speaking about Ighalo’s arrival, 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 center-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 is set to fly to Manchester over the weekend and will have four months to live out his dream of playing for Manchester United.