Odion Ighalo has admitted that he thought he might have played his last game for Manchester United before his loan was extended.
The Nigerian striker joined the club on loan from Shanghai Shenhua in January, but with that deal originally only running until the end of May, there were fears that he would not stay at Old Trafford for the end of the season.
With the Premier League set to re-start in June after a three-month pause, Manchester United managed to reach an agreement with Shanghai to extend Ighalo’s loan until January 2021 – although the striker admits he wasn’t confident it would go through.
“I was very worried it wasn’t going to happen,” Ighalo told Sky Sports News.
“Shanghai wanted me to return because they know what I can do, and they believe in me so it was a bit difficult. But I want to thank them for agreeing to my wish to stay at Manchester United.
“I want to thank the manager Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] for pushing as well.
“It’s so hard to explain, but I still have the same feeling. I want to go every day to train with these young players and show what I can do. This is a great achievement for me to be at this club and I will never take it for granted.”
It had been three years since Ighalo’s last Premier League appearance with Watford when United showed faith in him and brought him back to England – and he says that the fact he earned the move at this late stage in his career makes the dream even more enjoyable.
“I’m going to be 31 soon and playing for United is something great for me,” he added. “It is happening towards the last stage of my football career, which makes me feel even happier.
“That’s why I cherish every moment of being at this club.
“For now, I just want to continue living my dream.”
Meanwhile, Ighalo also admitted that he thought it was a “joke” when he first heard Man Utd were interested in him.