Odion Ighalo has touched the ball just six times for Manchester United so far. And he is already looking like an essential move.

With the fixture schedule resuming at a rapid rate of games, United are already being stretched.

Mason Greenwood was a surprise absentee from training on Wednesday after sitting on the bench against Chelsea. He has not travelled to Belgium.

This leaves Ighalo as United’s only alternative to Anthony Martial, unless counting Dan James as a forward too.

United’s shift to a 3-4-1-2 formation means United need strikers. And suddenly Greenwood’s absence means we are already low on options.

(Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)

Ighalo’s presence is vital

On Sunday United face Watford in the Premier League, with Brugge days later at Old Trafford followed quickly by a trip to Goodison to play Everton, scene of a 4-0 defeat last season.

If Ighalo had not been signed then United would suddenly be looking at having just Martial as a recognised striker heading to Belgium tonight, and many question whether the Frenchman should be playing that position at all.

 

Greenwood is said by Solskjaer to be out with illness, The Express report. Hopefully he is back available on Sunday.

Even in a worst case scenario, Ighalo provides help and can relieve Martial so he isn’t overplayed.

(Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the club website yesterday that Marcus Rashford isn’t expected back any time soon either, if at all.

And if Martial got injured, Ighalo’s presence means the situation is not as desperate as it could have been otherwise.

With a bit of luck Greenwood will be available quickly, but his absence has really highlighted again how important it was that United managed to sign a striker on deadline day.

It’s up to Ighalo himself to now prove how good he is and why he’s so much more than just an extra body.

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