Napoli forward Victor Osimhen rejected a move to Manchester United earlier this year because of fellow Nigerian Odion Ighalo’s presence at Old Trafford, according to a report.
Osimhen’s future was up for intense debate in his final days at Lille this summer, with several clubs keen on signing him.
United and Premier League rivals Liverpool and Tottenham were reportedly among them. All three are allegedly keen to bolster their attacking ranks before the October 5 transfer deadline.
However, it was the Serie A side who eventually won the race, wrapping up the deal for around €60million (£54million).
Speaking to Complete Sports, Osimhen’s brother, Andrew, revealed the reasons for his sibling rejecting United.
“It is very true that Manchester United wanted Victor but he told me something like he had too much respect for Odion Ighalo to be competing for shirts with his senior colleague,” he said.
“My brother holds Ighalo in high esteem and he just didn’t see himself going to Old Trafford to battle for a striking role with the highest goalscorer at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.”
Ighalo’s first cap for Nigeria came in 2015, when he was playing in the Premier League for Watford.
Since then, he has become one of his country’s main goalscoring outlets, netting 16 times in 35 games. Indeed, he top-scored in his continent’s major tournament last summer.
Ighalo then joined United in January, initially as a stop-gap due to Marcus Rashford’s back injury. However, after impressing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he earned an extension until January next year.
Despsite his new deal, he struggled for game time following the coronavirus lockdown. He took to the pitch for only 65 minutes in United’s final nine Premier League games.
WOODWARD PUTS MAN UTD STAR UP FOR SALE
Meanwhile, reports claim Chelsea and Aston Villa are keen with United putting Sergio Romero up for sale.
The Argentine goalkeeper has struggled for game time and is now Solskjaer’s third choice, following the return of Dean Henderson from Sheffield United.
Indeed, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is now allegedly willing to listen to offers for Romero.