Former West Brom and Newcastle striker Salomon Rondon has disclosed that he almost joined Manchester United on January transfer deadline day before the club settled for former Nigerian international Odion Ighalo.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were desperate to sign to a forward to provide cover for Marcus Rashford, who is ruled out for four months with a serious back injury. United reportedly launched a £20 million bid for Bournemouth striker Josh King in order to bring him back to the club but the Cherries rejected the bid for the Norwegian.
The Red Devils then attempted to sign Rondon, who currently plays in the Chinese Super League with Dalian Professional, but a deal never happened and the 30-year-old ended up staying in China. Instead, United signed former Watford striker Ighalo on loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season.
Speaking to The Athletic, Rondon said he waited endlessly for his agent’s phone call for an update on negotiations before he learned that United had already signed Ighalo.
He said: “It was all out of my hands. There was something and It was not smoke.
“It means a lot to be linked with Manchester United because they have a great history and it must mean they think I did well in the Premier League.
“They started to talk to my agent and I was just waiting by my phone for a decision, maybe for the lawyers, but then I saw Ighalo had signed.
“It didn’t get to the stage where an offer was made or anything like that, but I think it was really close.”
The Venezuelan has plenty of Premier League experience after playing for West Brom for three seasons and later featuring for Newcastle on a season-long loan. Rondon netted 28 goals for the Baggies and also scored 12 times for the Magpies last season before moving to the Chinese League in the summer.
Speaking further, Rondon said he was not angry or frustrated over the failed transfer to United.
He said: “No, no! it’s just football.
“It’s decisions again and they obviously decided Ighalo was the best decision for them. I’ve played against him and I’m pleased for him.
“All I can do is keep working. I’m concentrating on Dalian, working and learning and listening to the manager. After that, we will have to wait and see. You just never know in this game.”
Ighalo made his debut for United in the 2-0 away win at Chelsea on Monday night, coming on as a late substitute for Anthony Martial. The 30-year-old almost scored his first United goal but his effort was saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero in stoppage time.
The Nigerian netted 39 goals in nearly 100 appearances for Watford during his three-year spell at the club.