Manchester United are leaning towards paying £15 million to sign Odion Ighalo on a permanent basis, The Mail report.
Ighalo has scored four goals in three starts and his loan deal runs until May 31. £15 million is the reported asking price being sought by Shanghai Shenhua.
Here is a look at four benefits to a move if United decide to go ahead and pay up…
Reward for strong performances, keeps continuity
A deal for Ighalo would be a reward for strong performances during his time at Old Trafford so far.
It would also help keep up the feelgood factor at the club which his arrival has helped foster during this unbeaten run.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been good at selecting players who deserve to play, based on form, and Ighalo is one of these.
To cut him loose at the end of his loan spell would be a harsh decision, based on the strong performances he has contributed.
Ighalo’s hold-up play is excellent, and he offers a different style of threat to United’s current options.
Fans and teammates are behind the Nigerian forward, so lets keep some continuity and give him the move he desperately wants, and deserves.
Path continues to be clear for Greenwood, Martial, Rashford while depth addressed
United have three promising forwards in Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.
All three are capable of being elite players and have yet to hit their peak.
Signing a big name striker who expects to start league games a season may hinder their development.
Ighalo is happy being rotated in and out of the side, as a back-up, and would not block the development of any of United’s strikers.
At the same time he provides vital squad depth, which was missing earlier in the season when one or more of the trio suffered an injury.
Money saved for elsewhere in the squad
Spending just £15 million to fill a need up front helps with a short term fix.
Ighalo is not a long term solution but he might ‘do’ next season if the rest of the transfer budget is used to sign elite players elsewhere.
United need a winger, a defensive midfielder, and a creative midfielder to help Bruno Fernandes out, especially if Paul Pogba leaves.
If the club were to spend £50-60 million on a striker, it would mean there is less available for other positions.
As we enter what is now likely to be a more challenging financial climate, United have to be practical.
Wait for an obvious striker choice
Unlike Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and Thomas Partey who appear to be strong options in other key positions, its unclear who United’s top option up front should be.
There are promising strikers out there. Moussa Dembele, Odsonne Edouard, Maxi Gomez, and Victor Osimhen.
But none of them are ‘home run’ certainties like Erling Haaland appeared to be.
United can take a gamble, and invest in one, but each of them would cost a hefty price.
There’s an argument to keep the money and wait until one of them kicks on, or another truly world class option presents itself.
In the meantime, adding Ighalo to United’s current options and strengthening the rest of the team may be the right move.
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