United dream becomes real as Ighalo arrives in Manchester
Odion Ighalo has spoken of his long-held affection for Manchester United after arriving in England to begin his loan spell at Old Trafford.
United sealed a last-gasp deadline-day loan move for Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua after the Chinese Super League season was postponed indefinitely in an attempt to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The 30-year-old forward has scored 46 goals in 72 league appearances in the Far East since leaving Watford for a reported £20million in 2017 and he can’t wait to get started as a player for his boyhood club.
“It’s a dream come true because since I was a kid I followed and dreamt of Manchester United,” Ighalo told Sky Sports News on his arrival at Manchester Airport.
“But it is a reality now. I cannot say much more now until I get started.”
The Nigerian international, who was the top scorer in qualifying for the African Cup of Nations 2019 and the finals themselves, admitted the past few days prior to the deadline had “been crazy”.
“This is a great opportunity for me and I am grateful to God, and to my agent, and the coach who has given me this opportunity to be here,” he added. “I am happy to be here and to work out with the team and finish very well this season.”
With United currently able to regroup during a 16-day winter break, Ighalo’s first chance to pull on the red shirt will come at Stamford Bridge on February 17.
The clash with Chelsea will be crucial to United’s chances of closing a six-point gap to the team currently in fourth place and gaining qualification for next season’s Champions League.
But he is unlikely to feature from the start in that game after not playing a competitive match for almost two months during the Chinese off-season.