Manchester United have signed striker Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua on a six-month loan deal – but the transfer does not contain any option to make the move permanent in the summer.
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.
ESPN’s Manchester United reporter Rob Dawson claims the player will fly to the UK over the weekend where he will be formally presented as a United player.
United have secured Odion Ighalo on loan until the end of the season. Currently in China but would fly to Manchester tomorrow.
— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) January 31, 2020
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.
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.