Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo has opened up about the “dramatic” turn of events that led to his deadline-day move to Old Trafford.
With United in need of an attacking addition before the January transfer window shut due to Marcus Rashford’s injury, the Red Devils had reportedly explored several avenues in their efforts to make a signing.
Indeed, reports suggested that a deadline-day approach was made for Bournemouth’s Josh King, while Southampton’s Danny Ings was also the subject of an inquiry from the club.
However, United opted in the end – after a frantic step-up in talks – for Shanghai Shenhua hitman Ighalo, whose loan move was announced just after midnight last Saturday.
Speaking to MUTV, former Watford forward Ighalo revealed the full extent of his mood as a move to Old Trafford drew nearer.
“Yeah, it was very dramatic. My agent called me the day before and said Man United. I would love to go,” the 30-year-old said.
“A few other clubs had shown interest, I said please, just pick United, if it’s going to be possible. At 11pm in Shanghai, my agent called me [to say] that United want to do the deal, so I woke up that night and started looking for a translator to go to the directors’ room and hit his door and all that.
“I said: ‘My agent wants to speak to you, United are coming for me, you have to make this happen’.
“So they started talking and discussing. I didn’t sleep throughout that night, because it was going to end at 7am, Shanghai time, and the transfer [window] is going to close there.
“So, from 11pm, there was paperwork, negotiating and all that, for the loan deal and all that, so we are talking and other teams are calling them, wanting me, but I told my agent that this is what I want. I want to come here.
“He said you’re going to get a pay-cut to go to United. I said: I don’t care. Make this deal happen. I want to go to United. I don’t care how much is the pay-cut, I know that, make it happen’.
“So the director and everybody didn’t know what to say anymore, because I had already made up my mind, so my agent started putting it in order, and, at 5am, we finished.
“My agent said he’d forwarded all the papers to United, they will confirm for me if everything is okay. I think, around 5-6am, he said everything is okay, it’s done.
“I was excited. I called my mum and she was happy and crying. This is your dream and all that and I’m happy for you. It was dramatic, I didn’t sleep through, I was very happy that finally, we got the deal done.”
Ighalo has taken the number 25 at United, previously worn by full-back Antonio Valencia.
Writing on Twitter, Valencia posted a good luck message to Ighalo, saying: “I always saw the number 25 as an opportunity to work beyond my dreams.
“It has been my inspiration and became my amulet. I wish you all the success now with this shirt brother!”