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What next for Odion Ighalo?


The scene was set for Nigerian international striker Odion Ighalo to bid an emotional farewell to Manchester United. The draw for the third round of England’s FA Cup had seen United drawn against Ighalo’s former club Watford and it seemed certain that he would start the game.

While the new season had seen Ighalo placed on the fringes of the Manchester United squad, an FA Cup game against lower league opposition surely provided the perfect opportunity for the striker to say goodbye after his loan spell.

Frustrating Wait

Many reports claimed that Odion Ighalo would start a game which Manchester United eventually won by a solitary Scott McTominay goal. Surely some extra firepower would be needed against the Watford Hornets but the Nigerian striker finished as an unused substitute.

It was hardly a fitting end to his Old Trafford career and it’s expected that Ighalo will now return from his loan spell in Manchester to join up once again with parent club Shanghai Greenland Shenhua in China. That’s the prediction in terms of the player’s next move but should he be playing on a much bigger stage?

United need back up

When the prolific Uruguayan international Edinson Cavani arrived at Manchester United in October 2020, it seemed certain that Odion Ighalo’s time at Old Trafford was up. Signed on loan from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua in January 2020, Ighalo was never going to be a regular first team starter and, while his scoring return was a modest one, he scored some important goals in his time at Old Trafford.

As 2021 began, Manchester United had risen to third in the English Premier League table and those sportsbooks affiliated to sbo.net had listed the Red Devils as third favourites to lift the trophy. The same bookmakers had Manchester City as the favourites with defending champions Liverpool sitting in second place.

Sbo will continue to update those odds and there will be news and opinion related to the Premier League title race so anyone looking to place a bet can find useful information. One theory is that Manchester United need back up in the striking department and, as they remain involved in the FA Cup, Ighalo should maybe stay in the squad to provide that cover.

Return to China

Despite that theory, it looks almost certain that Ighalo will return to China and play out the next part of his career with his parent club. The domestic set up within the country does contain some big name players but it doesn’t quite compare in terms of competitive football at the highest level.

Having enjoyed his return to the English Premier League, Ighalo should be welcomed back as a regular starter by Shanghai Greenland Shenhua. In his first 17 games for the club, he scored ten times and that’s an impressive ratio that should see him make the starting XI.

That ratio should, however, alert other sides in bigger leagues around the world.

Ighalo has more to Offer

While it may be wrong to assume that a top four club will come in for Odion Ighalo during the January transfer window in Europe, there are many sides that could use the player’s services. An English Premier League club such as Burnley or Sheffield United who are looking to pull away from the relegation zone will need goals and Ighalo can provide the strikes that see them move up the table.

If he’s prepared to drop down a division, former club Watford need greater firepower if they are to achieve their aim of promotion back to the Premier League. For now, his time at Manchester United seems to be over but hopefully there is much more to come in the story of Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo.

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