Odion Ighalo has continued with his crisscrossing of continents as he continues to play the beautiful game of football. The former Manchester United loanee has officially left his Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua to join a Saudi Arabia club Al Shabab.
The 31-year-old striker spent the second half of the 2019-2020 season playing for Manchester United on a 6 months loan from Shanghai Shenhua. Manchester United were impressed by his performance and they decided to extend the loan deal by 6 months.
The extension allowed Odion Ighalo to be a part of Manchester United’s squad during the first part of the 2020-2021 season. Unfortunately for the former Nigeria international, he didn’t have a lot of regular playing time and only featured for 9 minutes in the Premier League.
When the 6 months loan deal expired, Manchester United refused to extend the deal, hence his relationship with the Premier League club ended on January 31, 2021.
Few weeks after the expiration of his loan deal with United, his Chinese club gave him the go-ahead to negotiate with any club that was interested in his services. The Chinese club permitted him to negotiate with other clubs even though he had until December 2021 before his deal with Shanghai Shenhua expires.
As expected, a couple of clubs shown interest in the services of Odion Ighalo. It was reported that some clubs in the Premier League wanted to sign him but they wanted him in a short term deal. Ighalo wanted a long term deal, hence, he decided to settle for Al Shabab.
✔️ Al Shabab has been signed with the Nigerian 🇳🇬🦅 Odion Ighalo @ighalojude (Ex. Man United striker) for a two and a half years.#Alshabab #ShababFC pic.twitter.com/1S5VvhnXgg— Al Shabab FC (@ShababSaudiFc) February 4, 2021
The Saudi Arabia Pro League club offered him a permanent contract which will keep him at the club for two-and-a-half-year. The six-time Saudi champions are currently topping the league this season which has gone halfway.
Odion Ighalo could help the Saudi Arabia side to win the Pro League title this season which the club last won during the 2011-2012 season.
The 31-year-old striker who scored 34 goals and provided 6 assists for Granada, and also scored 40 goals and provided 11 assists for Watford, is expected to kick start his career in Saudi Arabia this Saturday when Al Shabab welcome Al Raed. The former Nigerian striker has been given jersey number 89 which signified his year of birth.
Ighalo who seemed excited about the deal has taken to all his social media pages to celebrate the deal which he described as a new chapter.
New chapter ✍🏽 pic.twitter.com/tkId13SVON— Odion Jude Ighalo (@ighalojude) February 4, 2021