Odion Ighalo has officially told Manchester United goodbye after a year of playing for the club on loan from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.
The 31-year-old Nigerian center-forward joined Manchester United, a club he has always referred to as his dream club, on January 31, 2020, a period the club needed forwards due to fitness issues that Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were having.
When he arrived at the Premier League side, the former Watford striker became an instant hit and scored a goal in almost every game he had the opportunity to start. His form impressed Manchester United’s coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to the extent he decided to add another 6-month to the initial 6-month loan deal he signed with the club.
At the end of the last half of the 2019-2020 season in which he played for Manchester United in all competitions, Odion Ighalo scored a total of 5 goals and provided 1 assist in 19 appearances.
Most critics of Solskjaer believed that Ighalo would have scored more goals if the coach had given him more opportunity to start games instead of starting from the bench.
When the 2020-2021 season started, Odion Ighalo’s chances of playing more regularly diminished drastically. It was so bad for the former Nigeria international that he played only 9 minutes of football in the Premier League this season. While he played a total of 157 minutes in all competitions.
The fact that Solskjaer stopped giving him game time confirmed that Manchester United would not extend his loan deal any further. Hence, Odion Ighalo had to say his bye before January 31 when his contract with United is expected to officially expire.
“It’s so hard to see this dream come to an end. But I give God the glory for helping me fulfill this lifelong dream of putting on a Manchester United shirt as a player and represent this great club, it was indeed an honor I will forever cherish and be grateful for,” Ighalo wrote on social media.
“To the manager, I say thank you for trusting and believing in me when many did not, to my amazing team-mates I will miss you guys, it was always fun and a time I look forward to training and spending time with all of you. And I pray we win the LEAGUE and FA Cup this year.
“To the best fans in the world (the Manchester United fans) we have missed you, but we hear your voices cheering us on from afar, we can’t wait to have you all back on the stands.
“I’m still and would remain a MANCHESTER UNITED FAN forever. Once a Red, always a Red. Thank you Manchester United and God bless.”
What next for Odion Ighalo
Odion Ighalo would have to return to his Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua after January 31 where he still has a permanent contract that will expire on December 31, 2021.
Reports claimed that Shanghai Shenhua are ready to listen to offer from clubs that are interested in the services of the 31-year-old striker.
Recall that recently, Odion Ighalo revealed that he is opened for a move to Major League Soccer but no known offer from the American soccer league yet.
However, reports claimed that some unknown Premier League clubs have started making moves to acquire the signature of Ighalo. Reports also claimed that some clubs in the middle-east especially in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, have shown interest in him.