Africans Abroad: Why Man Utd highly value Odion Ighalo

Retired Nigerian international Odion Ighalo has proved a valuable asset at Old Trafford since joining the former English Premier League champions in January.

Ighalo, 31, initially penned a six month loan contract with the Red Devils from the Chinese Super League side, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua but due to his sharp eyesight in front of goal, the 20-time league winners opted to retain the former Watford ace until January 2021.

He played a key role by sending Manchester United through to the 2019/20 FA Cup semi finals on Saturday after brushing aside Norwich City 2-1 in the quarter finals.

 Ighalo made it five goals in four starts for United by scoring the opener for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side at Carrow Road before skipper Harry Maguire’s winner in extra time saw the side book a date with Chelsea on the weekend of July 18/19 in the semis.

His admirable performance at the theater of dreams has left Solskjaer admitting the club made the correct choice of letting him stay; “Very important, that was important for me, we worked hard to do it, and Odion knows how much we value him in and around the dressing room,” Ole responded to Ighalo’s elongated loan.

“He’s a goalscorer, a poacher, he’s strong and we can play the ball into him. He showed for the second and Paul [Pogba] found him.”

In addition, the  Norwegian  tactician hailed the forward for his concentration whenever with a ball near the sticks.

“He’s got one eye on the ball,” Ole continued.

“Probably one eye is on the keeper coming to smash him and the defender coming to smash him, so well done.” He said.

Ighalo communicated a warning signal to his critics at Old Trafford by bagging a brace to help Manchester United sail 3:0 past Derby County in the fifth round of the FA Cup in March.