Odion Jude Ighalo has impressed since joining Manchester United on loan in January from Shanghai Shenhua, with the striker’s loan deal set to expire at the end of May. Man Utd’s loan signing of Ighalo raised a few eyebrows, but Ighalo has proven his doubters wrong after a decent start to his Old Trafford career. The former Super Eagles player has scored four goals in his opening eight appearances for the club. Ighalo has proven that he is worth a perfect target man with an abundance of impressive technical ability and the ruthlessness of a modern-day striker. Although he has not scored a Premier League goal yet, he has been a hit since joining Manchester United.
Has Ighalo given Man United precisely what they want?
So many people laughed when Man United signed Ighalo. A lot of people wondered why a massive club like Man United would go in for the former Watford man who had spent the last few years playing in China. His reputation was well below the caliber of signings Man United expects. After being sent in as a substitute in three games, Ighalo started in his fourth match in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 stages against Club Brugge and scored his first goal in that game. He also bagged in a brace against Derby County in the FA cup and scored against Austrian side LASK in the Europa League round of 16. Ighalo’s goal against LASK was a masterpiece, a stunner involving a gorgeous display of skill, technique, and power. The goal was the talking point of the game. Ighalo’s strength and pace give opposing defenders a tough time.
He has also got some impressive tactical playing style, which is one to watch. Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer once said he wanted a center-forward who was willing to go through pain to score goals, and that was the reason he snapped up Ighalo. Any time Ighalo is on the field playing, you can see his willingness to die for the club because it has always been his dream club. Although he is yet to start a Premier League game for Man United, his cameos in big matches such as the game against Chelsea and in the Manchester derby against City have been decent.
In those games, he displayed his ability to hold up play and composed touch. Also, Ighalo’s ability to beat his marker easily has been essential to the team. One of his most significant assets has been his physical presence in the box, which is what Man United have lacked since the departures of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku. Ighlao provides a different option up front in contrast to what Solskjaer has at the club. Solskjaer has lavished praise on the center-forward and has even hinted that his services could be retained beyond the summer since Man United have not lost a match in which he has featured. He has contributed to the revival of Solskjaer’s side, who are now targeting a top-four finish, the FA Cup and the Europa League. From the way he is playing, if he continues like that, he is going to be the best African signing to wear the red shirt so far.
Should Man United make his deal permanent?
Ighalo has settled into life in Manchester superbly, but the big question is, will Solskjaer make his deal permanent or look elsewhere. Others are of the view that Man United should sign a better or a world-class striker rather than hold on to Ighalo because he is just an average player, and age is not on his side. Solskjaer is finalizing his plans ahead of a crucial summer transfer window, and he needs to strengthen in several critical areas, including the center-forward position. The likes of Harry Kane, Erling Haaland, and Moussa Dembele have been on the wish list of Solskjaer. Harry Kane’s future has become increasingly uncertain.
The England Captain has suggested that he might leave Tottenham this summer to challenge for silverware elsewhere, and that has alerted Man United to go for him since he is Solskjaer’s number one priority this summer. Comparing Ighalo to Harry Kane, Kane is an established striker in the Premier League with age on his side. However, United could prioritize the signing of Ighalo on a permanent deal if they fail to land the Tottenham Hotspur striker.