Odion Ighalo, who signed for Manchester United on loan at the end of the January 2020 transfer window, grew up supporting the Reds in his native Nigeria.
Speaking in 2016, Ighalo admitted that a move to Old Trafford would be a dream for him. “They were my team growing up,” he was quoted as saying. “I loved watching Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke on TV. They were my idols and playing at Old Trafford has always been a dream.”
Ighalo began his professional playing career in his homeland with local clubs Prime and Julius Berger, before sealing a transfer to Norwegian side Lyn in 2007. A year later, a move to Udinese in Italy eventually led to loan spells with Spanish club Granada (twice), Italian side Cesena and Watford in the Premier League.
While at Vicarage Road with the Hornets, Ighalo impressively scored 39 goals from 99 appearances across all competitions. During that time he made three appearances against United, losing twice and winning once, while also earning an assist.
That fruitful spell with Watford convinced Chinese team Changchun Yatai to sign him in 2017 and, two years later, in 2019, the Nigerian linked up with Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.
Prior to joining United, Ighalo had netted a total of 131 goals from 322 appearances across his club career. He also registered 16 international strikes in 35 games for Nigeria, and notably finished as the top scorer in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
He made an instant impression at Old Trafford, scoring four times in his first eight appearances before the enforced break due to coronavirus. The impressive impact led to United thrashing out a deal with Shanghai Shenhua to get the loan extended until January 2021, following successful tallks.