Odion Ighalo signalled his farewell to Manchester United last night with a message on social media.
Ighalo said he was ‘sad’ his time at United was at an end. His loan officially expires on January 31.
When he signed, he joined with United needing extra striker cover, with it looking like Marcus Rashford would be ruled out for the rest of the season.
An unexpected delay to the league season saw Rashford return for the final three months, also working to interrupt the progress Ighalo had made.
He scored four goals before the lockdown and one afterwards. Unfortunately he didn’t kick on, or seize the few opportunities he did have.
Ighalo scored five goals in his first four starts, but did not manage any more in his following three. Even so, five goals in seven was a solid return.
Solskjaer appeared to lose faith in him quite quickly, only bringing him on for the final minute of the Europa League semi-final, and he did not play at all in the Premier League this season, after disappointing in his two Carabao Cup starts.
Focus on the positives
Ultimately we knew Ighalo was just a short-term fix, and in that respect, he did exactly what he came to do. His arrival even spurred on Anthony Martial, who hit form in February and March when United needed him to up his game.
Ighalo made no secret of the fact he supported United, and when he scored his first goals against Club Brugge, you could see what it meant to him.
He will fondly remember his late cameo in the derby win over City in March. He came off the bench to play in front of a packed Old Trafford and even helped the cause, playing a part in the build-up to Scott McTominay’s goal.
Statistically, Ighalo put a former United player to shame. He scored the same number of goals as Alexis Sanchez, in 2,025 fewer minutes.
That’s pretty impressive, and to an extent, it felt like United wasted him this season. He probably could have contributed a lot more if given more opportunities.
But Ighalo has no complaints, and his stint at United was a dream come true for him. As United’s first ever Nigerian player, he created a little slice of history too.
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