EPL 2016/17: Odion Ighalo's agent claims both Manchester United and Chelsea wanted to sign him
Watford talisman Odion Ighalo has been linked with a move away from the club since the end of the last season. Having scored 37 goals in all competitions for the past two years the striker’s agent claimed both Manchester United and Chelsea have been interested in signing the Nigerian since the summer.
There have also been reports linking the Watford striker with a move to Italian giants Napoli to replace the injured Arkadiusz Milik and his replacement Manalo Gabbiadini, who has failed to convince the manager Maurizio Sarri.
"Last year, he was followed and wanted by Chelsea and Manchester United, but Watford did not even entertain talks,” said Ighalo's agent, Patrick Bastianelli. He also told Radio Marte, “We're talking about a lad who is part of the Nigeria national team, but he has an EU passport."
The arrival of Walter Mazzari to Watford might have tweaked the striker's mind to stay at the club and develop his abilities further before he makes a switch to a bigger club. The Nigerian turned down a move to the Chinese Super League in the summer for £40 million, insisting he wants to stay in England and become a lethal striker. His partnership with Troy Deeney for Watford was the driving force behind securing the Hornets status in the Premier League under former Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores.
Unlikely to leave Watford in January
On the striker’s potential sale to Napoli in the January transfer window, the agent added,
"It's unlikely he will leave in January. The Pozzo family's [club owners] Watford have a great relationship with Napoli, but according to their business plan, it's hard to see them selling their prized assets in the winter transfer window.”
The striker has not found the net as often this term, with defenders wary of the threat posed by the Nigerian and his strike partner captain Troy Deeney. Most Watford’s goals this season has come from players other than the front two, with Capoue and Holebas chipping in with the goals, as compared to last season where the burden was on the front two of Ighalo and Deeney.
The Nigerian’s last goal for Watford was at the London Stadium, where The Hornets came from two goals behind to blitz West Ham 4-2 in front of their supporters at their new home.
Despite his agent saying a transfer is unlikely, Bastianelli did add: "Anything can happen in football, so we'll see." As Watford prepare to take on Hull at Vicarage Road in the Premier League at the weekend, Hornets fans will be hoping for the Nigerian striker to regain some of his old form from last season.