What next for Manchester United and Odion Ighalo?

Transfer policy at Manchester United has been something of a sour point for many fans over recent years, although the winter transfer window did see the club redeem themselves somewhat.

The capture of Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes was well received by supporters, while the player has also made an instant impact with his impressive displays. Meanwhile, the loan arrival of Odion Ighalo did raise more than a few eyebrows initially, although his displays have shown that, if United decide to make the deal permanent, he will continue to repay their faith in his attacking abilities.

Perhaps the signing of Ighalo can provide the Old Trafford hierarchy with a clear example of what they should be looking for. Players who offer the right mix of genuine desire to pull on the famous red jersey, alongside the talent and skill to provide exactly what the manager requires of them. Players who understand what it means to represent Manchester United.

Today, many avid fans are turning to digital representations to keep them entertained, playing video games such as Football Manager and FIFA. Such games have sparked renewed interest in eSports, with online gaming sites and bookmakers such as ComeOn Casino offering odds on the digital versions of teams like Manchester United in action. So, while we might not get to see Ighalo in action for a while, fans can keep their eyes peeled for any digital Man U matches coming their way.

There’s certainly no doubt that Ighalo will have had his stats updated on FIFA20, along with his facial image in the game and his customary goal celebration, which hasn’t changed over the last decade.

Deeply religious, Ighalo has always regarded scoring goals as his opportunity to give thanks to God. That’s why he’s kept the same celebration of running to the corner flag, hands in the air and looking to the sky. No matter where this journeyman striker has scored his goals, this has been a constant and considering where he was just a decade ago, Ighalo will always feel grateful.

Interestingly, back in 2010 life was completely different for Ighalo. Ten years ago he was playing for Granada CF in the Segunda B, the third tier of Spanish football. During his five seasons with the club, while never the most prolific of strikers, Ighalo is still regarded as a legend amongst their fans. He had a knack for scoring some of their most important goals, including one that secured promotion back to LaLiga for the first time in 35 years.

During his time in LaLiga with Granada, it’s fair to say that Ighalo wasn’t utilised as well as he could have been, as various managers came and went. He never complained, kept working hard and always sported his trademark smile. Patience and perseverance were eventually rewarded with a switch to Watford, with Ighalo quickly finding his feet in English football.

One of the key players who helped Watford return to the Premier League, the goals kept flowing for Ighalo with the Hornets buzzing amongst the English elite. His form was attracting attention far and wide, including Manchester United according to rumours at the time. Nevertheless, the next leg of a journeyman career took Ighalo to China, where he continued to shine with Changchun Yatai and Shanghai Shenhua.

More out of necessity with Marcus Rashford injured and a lack of alternatives in the January transfer window of 2020, United eventually made their move for Ighalo. He didn’t need to be convinced, didn’t need to think about it, and he was prepared to accept whatever role that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had in mind. This was the opportunity of a lifetime and for the 30-year-old, possibly the last chance to realise his dream of playing for the Red Devils.

Ighalo hasn’t wasted his opportunity. While his Premier League appearances have been fleeting, typically appearing from the bench, his cup appearances have been spectacular. 2 goals in 1 FA Cup appearance, 2 goals and 1 assist in 3 Europa League appearances. The last outing for Ighalo in the continental competition also produced an absolutely stunning strike, which has left United fans drooling for more from their new attacking idol.

Amidst talk of negotiations for a permanent switch from Shanghai Shenhua, there’ll be no difficulties presented by Ighalo. All that remains is for United to agree terms with the Chinese club, with the Nigerian international certainly deserving of the opportunity to stay put at Old Trafford.