New Manchester United signing Odion Ighalo gave his first interview as a Red Devils player this week and his excitement was clear.
He sounded absolutely overjoyed to sign for the club he supported as a boy, and whatever you think of the move and United’s transfer strategy, his comments were refreshing.
He told United’s official club website how he stayed up all night in China trying to get the deal done, taking a pay cut, and finding a translator to make the move happen before last week’s deadline.
Most players who head to China in their prime have reputations as football mercenaries, but it sounds like United have signed the very opposite.
This is a player coming to Old Trafford to fulfil his dream and help the team out.
Here are a few of the best snippets from Ighalo’s wide ranging interview about his loan move…
Ighalo said: “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.
“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.”
“I think, around 5am-6am, he [my agent] said everything is okay, it’s done. I was excited. I called my mum and she was happy, crying and all that. 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.”
All logic prior to the transfer deadline suggested a move for Ighalo would be a bizarre, desperate move for United.
And in a way, it very much was. But the club just could not afford to be left with nobody, and to grab an international striker with Premier League experience, on loan, with a couple of hours to go, really was making the best of a bad situation.
The fact he is a United fan and wanted the move so badly, really helps. Ighalo seems like a great character and has the potential to become a cult hero at Old Trafford.
Ultimately he will be judged on the pitch, rather than on his enthusiasm in interviews, but this was a good start, and may win over some supporters who were originally feeling negative about his arrival.
A few other players could do with showing the same kind of passion as Ighalo clearly has for the club.
Here is a look at some of the reaction on social media to Ighalo’s comments…
- Wilfried Zaha should have taught United a lesson over Dan James
- James Garner’s loan move to Watford is a bold choice
- Angel Gomes impresses in debut for Boavista after quitting United
- Paul Pogba’s performance puts his place in doubt v Brighton
- United loanee Tahith Chong praised by Werder Bremen teammate