Manchester United have signed Nigerian International Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua on loan until the end of the season. The signing of Odion Ighalo took the football world by surprise because many people think a club as massive as Man United stature should not be signing players from the Chinese super league. Ighalo has so far scored 131 goals in 322 appearances across all the clubs in his career and has also earned 35 caps for the Nigerian senior team scoring 16 times, finishing as the top scorer in 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
What to expect from Ighalo
The Nigerian International is 6ft 2in, and he combines great physicality with blistering pace and touch of finesse. Ighalo is comfortable on the ball, very elegant in possession, has quick feet and can create a great partnership with Anthony Martial and Daniel James with a pacey front three heavily supported by winter signing Bruno Fernandes behind them to provide the creativity since their leading marksman Marcus Rashford is sidelined for a couple of months. Ighalo offers Man United physical presence they have lacked upfront since the departure of Romelu Lukaku. Looking at the way Solskjaer set up his team, he is a type of striker the manager needs at the top end of the pitch to relieve pressure, retain possession, resist challenges, and gives the team more presence in terms of putting crosses into the box. He is an experienced player, who comes as a different type of center-forward who adds versatility to the attack for the short spell he would be at Man United. Ighalo should also bring in several different qualities to the reds attack under Solskjaer, and his work rate, pressing, and aggression have been constants throughout his entire career.
Is he the solution to united scoring woes?
Ighalo has had a premier league experience before at Watford. He played for Watford between 2014 and 2017. During his time at Watford, he made three appearances against Man United, losing twice and winning once while also earning an assist. Whiles at Watford, he impressively scored 39 goals from 99 appearances across all competitions and picking up the premier league player of the month award in December 2015. He was indeed a prolific striker and a torn in the flesh to defenders during his spell at Watford. That fruitful spell with Watford convinced Chinese team Changchun Yatai to sign him in 2017, and two years later, in 2019, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua came calling for his service. Ighalo has been prolific in Asia scoring 46 goals in 74 appearances shows that he still got that striker’s instinct and put he is having a very decent and respectable scoring rate and hoping he can provide a cutting edge for Man United after they have failed to score in three successive premier league matches for the first time since October 2016. though it’s the Chinese super league and hardly the most competitive on the globe but not to mention he made a stellar campaign for Nigeria in the African Cup of Nations last year with five goals in seven games helping his Nation to place third and outscoring Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez this is a fairly decent indicator that he is still effective at a high level.
Is the deal a massive gamble for United?
Ighalo has spent the last three years of his career in China, and many people think it is a massive gamble, the most significant laughing stock, a panic buy and others believe the deal is a proof that the club can no longer attract clinical strikers for the club because United was desperate in need of a striker. The team needed a body in that area as a result of Rashford’s double stress fracture injury. The likes of Erling Haaland, Edinson Cavani, Mario Mandzukic, and Josh King were all linked to United, but in the end, they settled on a last-minute deal with the former Watford striker Ighalo, and he has nothing to lose looking at his age, and nobody thought he would be a united player. Ighalo landed in England on Sunday, and he will need time to reach premier league readiness. He has not played since December but with United beginning a winter break and due to embark on a training camp in Spain. Man United’s next game is on the 17th of February against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and the absence of Rashford will give Ighalo the chance to start. Solskjaer will be hoping Ighalo can replicate what Axel Witsel is doing at Dortmund since moving from the Chinese league. His arrival in the German Bundesliga has been described as the team’s most valuable player after they finished second last season and are in contention to win this season’s Bundesliga.