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3 reasons why 'panic buy' Odion Ighalo is a top signing for Manchester United

Modified 11 Feb 2020, 11:33 IST

After Marcus Rashford picked up a back injury against the Wolves, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was desperate to bring in a striker in the window. They were linked with Southampton's Danny Ings, Bournemouth's Josh King, and West Bromwich Albion's Salomon Rondon. But they have had to settle for Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua of the Chinese Super League.

Fans blamed Ed Woodward and his approach towards signing players. They claimed that a club of a repute like United should never be signing players from a league like the CSL. Although Odion Ighalo isn't a household name, he's not unknown either.

Here's Odion Ighalo making it matter in the CSL.

And just how highly he was rated for Watford a few years back.

So, here are three reasons why the Nigerian hitman is a top signing for Manchester United.

#1. Premier League Experience

Superstars like Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, and Gonzalo Higuain had failed to make an instant impact in the league following their transfers. But United shouldn't have any concerns about the 30-year-old's Premier League experience because he spent a fair chunk of his career in England as a Watford player. Ighalo joined Watford in 2014 and played a key role in their promotion to the Premier League. As he makes a comeback to the English top flight after three years, it'd be a safe bet that he won't be overawed by the situation.


Ighalo joined Watford in 2014 and played a key role in Watford
Ighalo joined Watford in 2014 and played a key role in Watford's promotion to top-flight football.

#2. He's a versatile 'No 9'

Since the departure of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan in the summer, United haven't had a natural striker to lead their attack. Marcus Rashford's injury has only made it worse. Anthony Martial or Mason Greenwood has had to step up to fill the void, but they are better suited to playing wider in the forward line.

The trident had terrifying pace to run at defenders but they lacked the physicality to play against a packed defence. Ighalo is a more versatile player in the sense that he can use his work rate and aggression to press while using his strength to act as a target man.

In his first season in the Premier League, he scored 15 times for The Hornets. Altogether, he scored 39 goals across three seasons at Watford. On the international scene, he outscored Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez to bag the Golden Boot at the African Cup of Nations last year. Overall, he has scored 16 times in 35 appearances for Nigeria.

Ighalo could benefit from the additional creativity Bruno Fernandes brings and Paul Pogba has always been handy with through balls.

Ighalo will thrive on deliveries from Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba
Ighalo will thrive on deliveries from Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba

#3 He chose Manchester United

Jose Mourinho and the Tottenham Spurs had also reportedly made enquiries about Ighalo. But Ighalo had his heart set on a dream move to Old Trafford.

He (agent) said 'you're going to get a pay cut to go to United'. I said I don't care. Make this deal happen. I want to go to United -- Odion Ighalo

United, two points below Spurs, know that they have a recognized striker in place and Spurs don't. This makes every goal Ighalo scores worth more in the top-four race between the two.

I’m happy to be here, I'm happy to be a Man United player, I'm looking forward to the game and I promise to give my best from the first day I put on the jersey to the last day of my time here. I promise to add my own path to make sure the season finishes well for United

Odion Jude Ighalo, on his debut, will also make history as the first Nigerian to ever play for Manchester United.

Published 11 Feb 2020, 11:33 IST
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