John Barnes has said that Manchester United would be paying above the odds if they agreed to sign Odion Ighalo on a permanent deal for £20million.
Ighalo moved to Old Trafford on deadline day in January and impressed before the season was brought to a halt, scoring four goals in three starts.
Initially brought in as a stopgap to cover for Marcus Rashford’s back injury, Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted earlier in the season that Nigeria international Ighalo had played himself into contention for a permanent deal.
Previous reports suggested that the striker’s parent club, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, would demand £20million from United for the player if Solskjaer was thinking about keeping him at Old Trafford.
Speaking to Bonus Code Bets, however, Barnes explained that – with the current financial uncertainties surrounding football expected to push transfer fees down – United should be looking for cheaper alternatives.
The former Liverpool striker also admitted, though, that Ighalo’s form presents a forward who would be a “decent signing” in normal circumstances.
“When you think about Odion Ighalo, a proven goal scorer and has experience in the Premier League, then £20m is very good value in this market,” Barnes said.
“However, if you are looking at the current situation with coronavirus and the transfer market, with a player who won’t necessarily start every game, he is not worth the money.
“Under normal circumstances, £20m is nothing for a player in the transfer market, If I look at an overall player, someone who is happy to be a squad player and will help back-up players like Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, then yes, he would be a decent signing for Manchester United.”
While reports are suggesting that United are considering offering Ighalo a permanent deal at Old Trafford, it has also been claimed that they are struggling to keep him until the end of the season.
While the Premier League agreed to provide short-term extensions to players whose contracts run out on June 30 in order to see them through the season, Ighalo’s short-term deal runs out on May 31.