MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Nigerian striker and young Manchester United fan Odion Ighalo agreed to cut salaries to ensure that his move to the Premier League club was successful on the transfer date.
Nigerian Odion Ighalo celebrates his first goal. REUTERS / Sumaya Hisham / File Photo
United did a surprise dive for Ighalo before the window closed on January 31, and signed the 30-year-old, who was on loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season after failing to meet his first January goal, Norwegian Erling Haaland.
Ighalo, who scored 16 goals in 35 games for Nigeria before retiring from international football after winning the Golden Boot at the 2019 African Nations Cup, was in Watford before moving to China, but said that joining United a dream come true.
"It was very dramatic," he said of the United website here. "My agent called me the day before and said Man United … Some other clubs were interested. I said," Please, just choose United if it will be possible. "
"At 11pm in Shanghai my agent called me (to say) that United wanted to make the deal … I haven't slept all night.
"There was paperwork, negotiations and all that … So let's talk and other teams call and want me, but I told my agent that that's what I want." I want to come here.
"He said:" You will receive a cut in United's salary. "I said I don't care. Make this deal happen. I want to go to United. I don't care how much the wage cut is … make it possible."
Ighalo added that he had supported United since he was young and that his mother burst into tears when she heard the news.
"I called my mother and she was happy and cried:" This is your dream and I am happy for you, "he said." It was dramatic. I was very happy that we finally made the deal. "
United, who only had Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial as a chance before Ighalo due to Marcus Rashford's back injury, is seventh behind the championship qualifier in seventh place, six points behind.
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Edited by Ken Ferris