Why Manchester United must not sign Odion Ighalo permanently
The Red Devils hopes of extending the Nigerian’s stay at Old Trafford suffered a major blow after his parent club Shanghai put a price tag over his head. Ighalo, who was earlier valued at £15m, arrived at Old Trafford on deadline day in January for a loan fee of £3m. Ighalo was brought in as a back-up for the injured Marcus Rashford.
The 30-year-old has impressed for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side with four goals from eight games. As a result, Shanghai have now increased his price, putting United in a spot of bother. (h/t Daily Mail)
United, on the other hand, are waiting to hear a date regarding a Premier League restart, after having had to pay Ighalo’s £130,000-a-week salary during the two-month shutdown.
There is good news, however, for the Red Devils. Rashford is now returning to fitness after sustaining a back injury back in January. The 22-year-old was in top form, scoring 14 goals and giving four assists from 22 league appearances before injury ruled him out.
The fact that United sold Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan without signing a replacement hurt them badly.
Ighalo an unwanted man at Manchester United next season
Despite Rashford’s good form, United struggled in the first half of the season largely due to inconsistency. With Rashford playing out of his preferred role on the left and Martial taking time to adapt, United were clearly in need of a quality striker.
This led to the club roping in Ighalo in the final minutes of the winter transfer window. And, the veteran finisher has done a commendable job, prompting the club hierarchy to consider making his stay permanent.
With Shanghai now increasing his value and the financial implications of the coronavirus affecting many clubs including United, Ighalo’s future remains uncertain at the moment.
However, the rise of academy graduate Mason Greenwood and Rashford’s return from injury will serve them well even if they fail to make Ighalo’s stay permanent. Teenager Greenwood has been a revelation for the Red Devils this season, scoring 12 goals in 40 appearances across all competitions.
That said, United’s future at the moment looks secure and they should stay away from making Ighalo’s stay permanent. Moreover, he will turn 31 this June and is not getting any younger. Hence, United will be wasting their resources on a player, who seems to be nearing the end of his career.
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Rashford’s return means United now have three strikers in their mix, excluding Ighalo. Moreover, considering the form that young Greenwood has been in, it seems unnecessary for United to hold onto veteran Ighalo. Also, he does not fit into the young homegrown talent that Solskjaer is keen on building his team with.