Confirmed: Ighalo's official squad number at United
Odion Ighalo has been handed the no.25 squad number at Manchester United, after the lifelong Reds supporter joined the club on a six-month loan deal from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.
That shirt has been vacant since Antonio Valencia left Old Trafford in the summer, bringing an end to his 10-season career as a United player.
A temporary move for the 30-year-old striker was completed on Friday and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations top scorer is set to bolster Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad for the remainder of this season, providing a different option in attack.
Ighalo’s debut, in theory at least, could be made when the Reds return from the winter break with a hotly-anticipated Premier League match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday 17 February.
That game is followed by the Europa League round of 32 match against Club Brugge and, coincidentally, a top-flight game against his former club Watford.
WHAT IGHALO OFFERS TO OLE
Our January loan signing now has a fortnight to settle in and that period will include a warm-weather training camp in Europe.
As he explained at the weekend, Solskjaer is confident Odion will provide a fresh option up front.
“He is a different type of striker and he is a proven goalscorer,” Ole said.
“He has a physical presence. Also he gives us a chance to rest Mason and Anthony.
“We have so many games to come. We want to go far in the Europa League and FA Cup and we have league games to go so it was important we had another type of striker to use.”
Ighalo wore the no.25 shirt during the 2012/13 season at Granada and was no.24 throughout his time with Watford.
WHO ELSE HAS WORN NO.25?
Seven players have represented United with the no.25 on their backs, since official squad numbers were introduced during the 1993/94 season.
Gary Walsh and Kevin Pilkington wore it for most of the 1990s, before Quinton Fortune – one of six previous African players in United history – owned it from 1999 to 2006.
Academy graduate David Jones had it in 2006/07, followed by Danny Simpson for two seasons in 2007/08 and 2008/09.
Valencia was given it following his arrival from Wigan Athletic in 2009 and the Ecuadorian wore it for nine of his 10 seasons with United, after one campaign with the no.7 shirt in 2012/13 - when Nick Powell wore no.25.
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