Set aside any negativity you have over Odion Ighalo’s move to Manchester United for a quick moment. We are going to attempt to make the case for this deal working out.
Yes, we all wanted Erling Haaland, or a player of similar calibre. But we are here now. Ighalo might surprise a few people.
Here is a look at six reasons a deal for the striker might be a success.
He’s played in the Premier League before
The challenge with buying a player on January 31 is that they may take time to get up to speed. It’s no use if they take until April to adapt on and off the pitch.
Ighalo has played in the Premier League before with Watford and knows the atmospheres, the stadiums, and the style of football.
The hope is that he can slot straight in, and contribute straight away.
United need him
Not signing a striker was not an option. Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood need help. That has been clear in recent games against Liverpool, Burnley and Manchester City.
The scenario if one of them get injured would be awful for United, with Marcus Rashford out until April, or later.
United are competing in three competitions, and having a third striker helps reduce injury risk to both Martial and Greenwood.
There is a lot to play for still this season, the Premier League top four race, the FA Cup, and the Europa League. Ighalo can help.
He has success with a strike partner
Ighalo may help Anthony Martial by playing up front alongside him.
He had his best period of success at Watford alongside Troy Deeney, when the pair of them caused problems for Premier League defences.
United have been playing with three central defenders of late, a formation which lends itself to playing two strikers in a 3-4-1-2 formation.
Martial has looked best with Marcus Rashford alongside him, and putting Ighalo up top with him should help the Frenchman succeed.
There’s no commitment
There is little to no risk here for United. The small loan fee is pocket change. As a short-term fix, it works.
This is a better solution than paying over the odds for a Josh King on a permanent deal, and then being stuck with him.
United can move on from Ighalo in the summer and target a long-term option, like a Maxi Gomez or Moussa Dembele.
At a moment where United could have made a reckless decision which we would be left paying off in two years time, the club have brought a striker in, who they can walk away from in May.
He scores goals
Ighalo’s goalscoring record is respectable if not prolific. He has scored everywhere he has played.
In China obviously his figures are inflated, 36 goals in 55 game for Changchun Yatai, and 10 in 19 for Shanghai Shenhua.
For Watford he scored 40 goals in 100 games, while also providing 11 assists.
In Spain his tally of 21 in 103 was not so great for Granada, while his nine in 20 for Lyn in Norway was more respectable.
At international level he has 16 in 35 games for Nigeria, including five at last summer’s African Cup of Nations tournament.
He knows where the net is, and the confidence he has built up in China might help him hit the ground running at United.
If he can score five or six goals for United between now and the end of the season, it could make the difference between reaching the top four, or even winning a trophy.
He will have desire
BBC reporter John Bennett posted a photo of Ighalo wearing a Manchester United shirt as a kid.
The United fan will be determined to make this move a success, and to enjoy every moment of it.
If his passion can come across in his performances, he could become a crowd favourite during his brief time at Old Trafford.
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