Bengaluru, Feb 19: Eyebrows were raised when Manchester United completed a surprise loan signing on the transfer deadline day last month in the form of Odion Ighalo from China. The former Watford striker joined the Red Devils on the final day of the winter transfer window on a six-month loan deal from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was desperately looking for a striker to cover for injured Marcus Rashford and finally was able to land the 30-year-old Nigerian international.
Ighalo is pretty much familiar to the Premier League fans which is why many eyebrows were raised. Well, the Nigerian international does have good memories in the Premier League but that was pretty much short-lived. He was key to the Watford side in their promotion to the Premier League in his very first season in England when he scored 20 goals in 35 games.
Ighalo's first season in the Premier League was much more than decent as he found the back of the net 15 times in the Premier League but the next season, he could not manage to continue his form. He was eventually sold by the Hornets to Chinese Premier League side Changchun Yatai before he moved to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.
Well, on a loan deal, Ighalo certainly makes a great sense as the Red Devils did badly need a centre-forward. With Marcus Rashford, their top scorer, set to miss a few more weeks with injury, they were left with just Anthony Martial upfront and it is fair to say that the Frenchman is fairly inconsistent. It won't be a harm to have a backup option who is proven in the Premier League as well.
If Ighalo does a good job for the next few months, signing him permanently does make sense. He is a boyhood Red Devil and it was always his dream to play for the club. And, every top team needs decent options on the bench and Ighalo is more than a decent player as a backup. He is already 30 years of age and would never demand first-team football.
Manchester United will have to be in the market for a top-class centre-forward in the summer but they should also sign Ighalo on a permanent deal should he manage to impress in the remainder of the season.