Why Manchester United signed Nigeria striker Ighalo

United make surprise Ighalo swoop but top targets stay put

Manchester United made a surprise late addition to their squad on deadline day by bringing in 30-year-old Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo on loan from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season.

Ighalo, who will offer cover for United's injured forward Marcus Rashford, has Premier League experience having scored 33 goals in 82 games for Watford before moving to Chinese Super League club Changchun Yatai and then Shanghai.

 Marcus Rashford’s recent injury has left Man Utd short of strikers (Image: GETTY)

Odion Ighalo will offer the team something "different" according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who recognised the striker's experience and has backed him to make the most of his opportunity.

“Odion is an experienced player," said the Norwegian on United's official website. "He will come in and give us an option of a different type of centre-forward for the short spell he’s staying with us.

“A great lad and very professional, he will make the most of his time here.”

Ighalo scored 17 times in his first season in the Premier League with Watford back in 2016.

There were, however, no eye-catching major deals in the final 24 hours of transfer activity for European clubs which continues the trend of recent January windows.

None of the top four in the Premier League made any late moves at the conclusion of a low-key month, with some of the players who had been linked with possible deadline day moves staying put after proposed deals failed to materialise.

France's World Cup winner Olivier Giroud remains at Chelsea despite reported interest in the ex-Arsenal striker from several clubs surprisingly including London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Wales international Gareth Bale, left out of the Real Madrid squad again for this weekend, was also rumoured to be a possible Spurs target but stays with the Spanish club.

Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, who had been linked with Chelsea and David Beckham's new Major League Soccer club Inter Miami also ended the day staying put at Paris St Germain.

West Ham United brought in highly-rated striker Jarrod Bowen, 23, from Championship club Hull City on a 5-1/2 year deal, while Sheffield United followed the signing of Sander Berge with the capture of Dutch forward Richairo Zivkovic.

Zivkovic joins Chris Wilder’s high-fliers on loan from Chinese club Changchun Yatai but the Blades have an option to make the move permanent at the end of the season.

CONTINENTAL DEALS

The biggest deal on the continent saw Borussia Dortmund sign Germany midfielder Emre Can from Italian champions Juventus, bringing in the former Liverpool player in a deal that could be worth up to 25 million euros ($27.74 million).

The 26-year-old joins the Bundesliga side initially on a loan deal until June.

Barcelona snapped up Portuguese forward Francisco Trincao from Braga for 31 million euros (26 million pounds), the Spanish champions said in a statement on Friday.

The club also announced the signing of 21-year-old Brazilian midfielder Matheus Fernandes from Palmeiras for a fee of seven million euros, which could reach 10 million with add-ons.

Trincao, 20, will join on July 1 and sign a contract until June 2025 containing a release clause of 500 million euros.

Belgium winger Yannick Carrasco has returned to Atletico Madrid on loan until the end of the season, just under two years after leaving the club to move to China.

Ianis Hagi, son of Romanian great Gheorghe, joined Scottish side Rangers on a six-month loan from Belgian club Genk.

 

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