Manchester United’s last-gasp signing of Odion Ighalo was apparently not the panic-stricken move everybody thought it was.
The former Watford man in fact agreed the transfer to United on January 26, according to Foot Mercato.
However, the 30-year-old’s Chinese club Shanghai Greenland Shenhua dragged their feet with negotiations and, the loan until the end of the season only went through just before Friday’s 11pm deadline.
Shenhua did not want to lose their top scorer of 10 goals in 17 appearances in 2019 and so tried to slow down the transfer, but eventually United got the deal done with the player’s agent Atta Aneke having to work until the early hours of Saturday morning in Shanghai on the deal.
Ighalo was under contract until 2021, and the report claims United made their first approach for the attacker before the start of the January window, meaning the deal was not the last-minute move widely reported.
The french outlet via Sport Witness claim Manchester United will cover Ighalo’s entire salary, meaning they will pay £4.5m for his loan period, which with bonuses could hit £5.34m. A slightly different make up to the deal suggested by the Daily Mail, who claimed United had paid a £3m loan fee and agreed to cover £100,000 a week of his wages, which roughly equates to a similar figure.
Marcus Rashford’s injury had forced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who had offloaded Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez last summer, into buying a new forward.
United did bid for Josh King, while Islam Slimani, Danny Ings, Krzysztof Piatek, Soloman Rondon, Dries Mertens and Vedat Muqiri were all mentioned as targets for United as time ticked by on deadline day.
Solskjaer was desperate to add a forward who would “break his nose to score a goal”, although he maintained they would not sign players for the sake of it.