Odion Ighalo plays for Nigeria against England.

Odion Ighalo: Your questions answered

Monday 03 February 2020 20:00

On the final day of the January transfer window, Manchester United announced the signing of Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo on a loan deal which extends until the end of the 2019/20 season.

Fans may remember Ighalo from his spell at Watford, but how much do you know about the rest of his career?
Plug the missing gaps in your knowledge with the information below, where we answer the most frequently asked questions about our new forward…
How old is Odion Ighalo?
Odion Ighalo is 30 years old. His birthday is 16 June 1989 – he even wore the no.89 shirt during his spell in Italy with Udinese.
Where is Odion Ighalo from?
The striker is from Ajegunle, a neighbourhood in the former Nigerian capital city of Lagos.
Ighalo spent three years at Watford between 2014-17, scoring 39 goals.
What position does Odion Ighalo play?
Ighalo is a traditional centre-forward. At Watford he dovetailed well with fellow attacker Troy Deeney in a front-two partnership, but he is also comfortable operating as a lone striker, which is the position he will most likely be asked to occupy in United’s favoured 4-2-3-1 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

How many goals has Odion Ighalo scored?
Odion scored 46 goals across three seasons in China, and had 39 goals to his name in 100 games for Watford when he left Vicarage Road in 2017. As an international, he netted 16 times in 37 caps for Nigeria – including five at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, where he finished ahead of Premier League stars Riyadh Mahrez, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah as the competition’s leading scorer.
Can Odion Ighalo play in the Europa League for United this season?
Yes, Ighalo will be able to play in every competition for the Reds. He hasn't played any European football so far this season but as we learned for the Bruno Fernandes signing, UEFA abolished the previous rules about 'cup-tied' players in 2018.

What shirt number will Odion Ighalo wear at United?
Ighalo will wear the no.25 shirt at Old Trafford, which was most recently worn by Reds stalwart Antonio Valencia, who left the club at the end of the 2018/19 season. Neatly, the no.25 was also worn by South African midfielder-cum-defender Quinton Fortune, who was the very first African player to represent the club. In China, Odion wore the no.9 shirt for both Changhun Yatai and Shanghai Shenhua, while, at Watford, he took the no.24 jersey.
Does Odion Ighalo still play international football for Nigeria?
No, after a successful career with the Super Eagles, Ighalo announced his international retirement after the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Solskjaer explains Ighalo signing


The manager tells MUTV our latest new boy will give absolutely everything for the club.

Which clubs has Odion Ighalo played for?
Odion began his career in Nigeria with Prime and Julius Berger FC (which was renamed Bridge FC in 2010). He then moved to Norway, where he played for Lyn, based in Oslo. In 2010, he signed for Serie A club Udinese, though he spent much of his time with the Italian club out on loan, at Granada (Spain), Cesena (Italy) and Watford. The Hornets then signed him on a permanent deal in 2014. After leaving Vicarage Road, he moved to China to play for Changchun Yatai and later Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, the club he has joined United from.
Is Odion Ighalo a Manchester United fan?
Yes, Ighalo has regularly spoken of his love for the Reds, revealing that he grew up idolising Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole. In 2016, he admitted he dreamed of joining the club.
Has Odion Ighalo ever played at Old Trafford?
Ighalo played 75 minutes in Watford’s 1-0 Premier League defeat at Old Trafford in March 2016. The game was won by a Juan Mata free-kick in the 83rd minute – which occurred several minutes after the Nigerian had been substituted.
Story updated 11:30 GMT, 4 February.

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