Up until this weekend, there had been a complete lack of interest from the media over how much Odion Ighalo could actually cost Manchester United.
Ighalo has been steadily impressing since signing on loan from Shanghai Shenhua and has scored four goals in three starts.
It has led to speculation the Nigerian striker could sign permanently.
Landing Ighalo is not totally straightforward. There’s no agreed fee in United’s loan deal, and he certainly is not a free agent.
The first report emerged over the weekend addressing how much Ighalo could cost United.
The Mirror, report Ighalo will cost £15 million, with Shangai Shenhua increasing their previous asking price for him after his bright start.
A fee worth paying?
This was always a bit of a concern, that Ighalo’s positive performances could complicate a deal from a financial aspect.
Ighalo turns 31 in June and there is clearly a financial threshold where a deal should not be done.
At say £30 million, United should walk away. It would be too much for a back-up striker.
£15 million is still fairly reasonable, especially if United can recoup the fee from selling a Jesse Lingard or Phil Jones type who is surplus to requirements.
United have other deals to do, possibly even another younger striker. A £15 million fee for Ighalo should not affect that.
At the end of the day, Shanghai Shenhua have done us a big favour by letting us have Ighalo on loan. Without that, we would have signed nobody.
That does not mean United should be held ransom to them now, but it does mean the club should be amenable to paying fair market value and not try to take advantage of them by making a low-ball offer and dragging it out.
Wage situation not likely to be an issue
Ighalo earns a reported £240,000 per week, report The Sun. Players in China usually have large salaries.
He’s reportedly willing to halve this to sign permanently for United.
Even if United wanted him to go even lower he might probably accept, but the club again cannot take advantage of him just because he is a fan.
A very good start
It is commendable that Ighalo has made such an impact that we are even discussing a permanent deal just six weeks in.
He has missed chances, on his debut against Chelsea, against Everton, and even could have had a hat-trick against Derby and another goal versus LASK.
But four goals so far is a very good record and he had a real shot of reaching double figures before the season was halted. He would only have sharpened up with more game time.
He deserves an opportunity to continue his United career, and has shown he can be a really good back-up. He was even mounting a case to become a league starter.
Even if a younger striker is signed in the summer as well, Ighalo has ability to provide value too. £15 million is fair value.
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