Manchester United have signed Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua on a six-month loan deal – but at no point did the Red Devils look to negotiate an option to make the move permanent.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s desperate search to land a new centre forward on deadline day finally paid dividends with minutes to spare when it was announced a deal for Ighalo had been reached.
Their somewhat scatter-gun approach has seen the likes of Edinson Cavani, Danny Ings, Islam Slimani, Dries Mertens, Salomon Rondon and – perhaps most bizarrely – Adolfo Gaich all been mentioned as United targets on a frantic final day.
The deal was finally confirmed by Manchester United shortly after midnight.
✍ #MUFC can confirm that Odion Ighalo will join us on loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season.
Welcome, Odion! 🔴
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 1, 2020
At 30 years of age, Ighalo would appear unlikely to be a long-term solution to the club’s striking issues, but that may suit the men from Old Trafford to not saddle themselves down to a long-term deal with the arrival once Marcus Rashford returns from his lengthy lay-off with a back injury.
However, Ighalo – who left Watford back in three years ago to the day to join Changchun Yatai in a £20million deal – has a decent record in England having netted 33 times in 83 appearances for the Hornets.
A move for the ex-Watford man was previously thought to be difficult to pull off after the current problems in China surrounding the virus, but with the first round of football fixtures in the country tipped to be called off, the Nigerian may be seeking an escape route.
The move for Ighalo was agreed in the closing hours of the window, with United first settling on an undisclosed loan fee with Shanghai Shenhua and then agreeing personal terms with the player – all over the phone.
Contracts were then exchanged on email, with the player due to arrive in the UK over the weekend when he will be formally presented as a Manchester United player, with the necessary paperwork going through the TMS system in time to beat the 11pm deadline.
According to the Daily Mail, United have paid the Chinese Super League club a £4million loan fee for Ighalo, with the Red Devils contributing £100,000-per-week of Ighalo’s mammoth £300,000-a-week contract.
United, however, have made it clear the signing of Ighalo will only be a short-term measure with the club likely to review their options in the summer and look to make a more permanent signing in the summer. Free agent Edinson Cavani is one such option the club could look to explore.
United turned to Ighalo after Bournemouth were reported to have told the Red Devils they wanted £40million for King.