Former Manchester United loanee, Odion Ighalo says he is always proud that he is a former player of the Premier League giants even though he left the club due to lack of regular game time.
Odion Ighalo joined Manchester United from Shanghai Shenhua in January 2020 for a 6-months loan spell. After spending the first six months at the club, Manchester United decided to extend his loan deal until January 2021.
Unfortunately for the former Nigerian international, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did not give Ighalo regular game time at the club. The Nigerian striker managed to play 23 times mostly from the bench in which he scored 5 goals and provided 1 assist.
When he couldn’t establish himself at Manchester United, he returned to Shanghai Shenhua in January, and days later, it was announced that he has left China to join Saudi Arabian club, Al-Shabab.
New chapter ✍🏽 pic.twitter.com/tkId13SVON— Odion Jude Ighalo (@ighalojude) February 4, 2021
Since he switched to the Arabian club, Odion Ighalo has played 8 times in the Saudi Arabian Professional League in which he scored three goals and provided an assist.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Odion Ighalo said there was no possibility that he could stay at Manchester United beyond January because he always wanted to play.
“At my age, I want to play and not just sit on the bench and not have any minutes”, Odion Ighalo said.
“I didn’t just want to be there picking up a salary – I wanted to be involved so I said to my agent that if an offer comes in, I will look at it and see what’s best for me, which is what I did.”
Other Premier League clubs that wanted Odion Ighalo
Besides Al-Shabab, Odion Ighalo confirmed that a couple of clubs in the Premier League wanted to sign him when it was clear that Manchester United would not extend his contract.
According to the Nigerian football star, West Ham United and West Brom wanted his signature. “But after being at Manchester United, the biggest club in England if not the world, what else could I possibly do in the Premier League”, Ighalo wondered.
“I had good offers to stay in England, but I just didn’t think I could stay after achieving my dream of playing for the club I had supported since I was young”, he added.
“I came all the way from China because it was Manchester United when I had already rejected other offers because United has always been my dream.”
Also, Ighalo told Sky Sports that before he joined Manchester United, he had offers from some top clubs including Tottenham Hotspur but chose to join Manchester United.
“That was close – my agent called me and told me they had offered to match whatever I was earning but once I heard Manchester United were interested, there was no turning back”, he noted.
“I couldn’t think about anything else other than making the Manchester United deal work. I was going to have to take a pay cut but I didn’t care, I just wanted the deal to happen.
“I just wanted to play for Manchester United. It’s my dream club and it was always going to be a privilege for me to play at Old Trafford.
“I’m just so grateful to God that it happened. Every day I wake up and I know that I am an ex-Manchester United player. It is something that I will never take for granted.”
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[…] been at Al Shabab since February 2021, where he signed a two-and-a-half year contract after his season-long loan deal with Manchester United at Manchester United […]