The most shocking transfer signings this winter period was Manchester United signing striker Odion Ighalo on loan from the Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.
Even as a Nigerian and a Manchester United fan, I struggled to believe it when the news broke out that Ighalo was signing for Manchester United. I have known Manchester United for years as a fan and I’m familiar with the kind of players that United sign whether on loan or permanent transfer – Not even Ighalo himself thought that the transfer was going to happen.
During his first interview as a Manchester United player, Ighalo revealed that his lifelong dream to play for United. This is a dream come true for him.
Ighalo has been given jersey number 25, the shirt that has been vacant since former club captain Antonio Valencia left Old Trafford last summer.
Ighalo said that his decision to go with Jersey number 25 was influenced by the first African player to ever play for Manchester United, who also wore jersey number 25.
Interestingly, Ighalo made his debut for the Nigerian national team on 25th March 2015. He represented the Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup and was the highest goals corer in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign. He eventually led Nigeria to a third-place finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, where he finished in the competition’s Team of the Tournament and was crowned Top Scorer.
Reacting to the signing, the Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who is in need of help in attack as Rashford is injured said:
“He is a different type of striker and he is a proven goal scorer. He has a physical presence,e. Also he gives us a chance to rest Mason and Anthony.
“We have so many games to come. We want to go far in the Europa League and FA Cup and we have league games to go so it was important we had another type of striker to use.”
Ighalo will be the first Nigerian player to represent Manchester United in the English Premier League when they return from winter break and face Chelsea on February 17.