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Odion Ighalo joins Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab after leaving Manchester United

FOOTBALL By Mirror | February 5th 2021
February 27, 2020 Manchester United's Odion Ighalo in action [REUTERS]

Odion Ighalo has a new club after his loan spell at Manchester United fizzled out.

The Nigerian forward has signed for Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab on a two-and-a-half year deal.

Ighalo was on the books of Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai Shenhua for the duration of his Old Trafford loan, but had already hinted at a move elsewhere.

The 31-year-old was keen on a move to Major League Soccer in the U.S, but joins Al Shabab at a good time as they look to end their nine-year wait for a league title.

Ighalo scored five goals in 23 appearances during his short spell at United Photo: March 12, 2020 Manchester United's Juan Mata celebrates scoring their third goal with Odion Ighalo [REUTERS]

Al Shabab are currently top of the Saudi Professional League and Ighalo's arrival bolsters their contingent of stars who have previous experience of playing in Europe.

Ex-Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega is one of their key players, having signed for the club last summer, while former Wolves star Alfred N'Diaye is also in their ranks.

Ighalo had only made four appearances for United this season and was effectively made redundant by the arrival of Edinson Cavani in October.

His loan spell had been extended from June last year to the end of January after making a good contribution, but he soon found himself surplus to requirements.

A return to Shanghai was a possibility, but both parties agreed it was best for Ighalo to move on.

While Ighalo didn't quite have the grandstand finish to his United stint as he would have hoped, he penned a heartfelt letter to the club and its fans after realising his boyhood ambition.

June 22, 2019 Nigeria's Odion Ighalo celebrates scoring their first goal [REUTERS]

"It’s so hard to see this dream come to an end,” he wrote in a lengthy post on Instagram. “But I give God the glory for helping me fulfill this lifelong dream of putting on a Manchester United shirt as a player and represent this great club, it was indeed an honor I will forever cherish and be grateful for."

Ighalo racked up 23 appearances for United in his brief time at the club, scoring five goals in the process.

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