Odion Ighalo determined to succeed at Wembley after heartbreak of missing out in 2016 with Watford

Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo seems to be hyped up for his first appearance at Wembley with the Old Trafford club as they get ready to face Chelsea in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup on Sunday evening. There are no guarantees that the Nigerian striker will start or even come off the bench on Sunday but some feel that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to make major changes to keep the team fresh for West Ham United at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Wednesday.

However, Solskjaer suggested that ‘Wembley will give anyone energy‘ which suggests that his strongest XI, or as close as possible, will face Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at the national stadium on Sunday. Ighalo has not featured for United since the 3-0 thrashing of Aston Villa, an unused substitute in the last two matches; a 2-2 draw with Southampton and a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace. He has scored in each round of the FA Cup he has played in so far this season, so will probably get the opportunity once again.

It is playing in the FA Cup at Wembley that Ighalo wants to do, successfully this time though. When he played for Watford, they reached the semi-final during the 2015/16 season and were beaten 2-1 by Crystal Palace, United’s opposition in the final which secured the first major honour for the Old Trafford club post-Sir Alex Ferguson. Ighalo recently spoke to the official Manchester United website about this experience with Watford, which still seemed to have a bitter taste in his mouth, presumably seeking to make it right this time. Ighalo said:

“It was a difficult one to take against Crystal Palace, we lost 2-1 at Wembley. If we’d have won, we’d have played United in the final.

“Unfortunately, we lost. It was a bitter one to take but this is an opportunity again in an FA Cup semi-final to make it right and go forward to the final. If I’m called to play, I’m going to give all I can to help the team win the game.

“Everybody wants to play against teams like Chelsea, big teams, and play well against them and, most of all, playing at Wembley and, you know if you win, you’re in the final. So, of course, it’s going to give you more to want to fight hard and make sure you give everything to win the game.

“To get to the final would be great for me in my life and my career. I missed out in 2016 and I have the opportunity to now get to the final with the club I’ve supported all my life. It would make my dreams perfect. It will be tough but we have what it takes.

“We have beaten them three times this season I think, one in the Carabao Cup and two in the league, and we’re playing them now in the semi-final. All those games don’t count though. This is a different game which is going to be even tougher without the fans in stadium.

“We have to fight from the first minute until the end. It’s always tough against them but I think, with the quality and momentum we have now, we are ready to go and to win against any team.”

Since arriving at United in January, Ighalo have made a total of 14 appearances for his club, scoring five goals and one assist. He is yet to score or assist in the Premier League, scoring twice, with one assist in the Europa League, then scoring the remaining three goals in the FA Cup. He scored a brace against Derby County in the fifth round of the domestic competition back in January at Pride Park, then scored the opener in the quarter-finals against Norwich City last month with United winning 2-1 in extra time with Harry Maguire scoring in the 118th minute of the match.

Ighalo has seen a lot of his playing time from the bench this season with the form of Anthony Martial (22 goals and eight assists), Marcus Rashford (22 goals and 11 assists) and Mason Greenwood (16 goals and five assists) all playing ahead of him. He won’t mind that though as he is at the club to be the extra player to bring on if needed and he will understand that, His loan spell was never going to see him become the first-choice striker in the squad, unless his form forced that to happen. The Nigerian striker was asked about the trio, to which he concluded by saying:

“They are doing so well. Seeing them playing every week is a joy. Rashford has come back from his injury and is doing well. Martial is scoring goals, Mason Greenwood is unbelievable, he is such a good finisher with both feet.

“The team is doing well and the three forwards are scoring goals and that’s what we need – goals win games. And I don’t forget Bruno [Fernandes] with the assists and goals too. I think the mentality is getting stronger every time.

“As a professional, you have to be ready, you have to have that mental strength to be ready. We train hard to keep fit and I’m always ready when I’m called upon, and I will give 100 per cent. You always have to stay focused.”

After Sunday’s match, whether Solskjaer’s side win or lose, they will have tp go back to readying themselves for the final two Premier League matches of the season; facing West Ham United at Old Trafford on Wednesday, then heading to the King Power Stadium on the final day of the season, a week from Sunday, to face Leicester City in what could be a battle for a fourth-placed finish in the Premier League this season to qualify for the Champions League. United will then have some rest before embarking on their UEFA Europa League adventure.

Written by John Walker

Mason Greenwood is Manchester United’s new Robin van Persie, says Odion Ighalo

Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo has heaped praise on teammate Mason Greenwood ahead of the resumption of the Premier League season. The 18-year-old has had a good season and will be seeking to continue that in two weeks when United are back in action. Ighalo though sees potential in the player, in the shape of Robin van Persie.

This week, it was confirmed that the Nigerian striker would remain at United not only for the remainder of the rescheduled season but until the end of January 2021, which is good news for United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Ighalo has highlighted the qualities of both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, reserving special praise for Greenwood.

This season, Greenwood made his rise into the first team as a regular player, making a total of 36 appearances at first team level so far, scoring 12 goals and four assists, also playing twice at U23 level in the Premier League 2 and the EFL Trophy, scoring two goals. It has been a special season for the teenager and many will be hoping that continues.

For a player of his age and the fact he is not experienced, his confidence is something that needs to be admired. Ighalo feels that Greenwood has the playing style and confidence of Van Persie, who made a total of 105 appearances at United, scoring 58 goals. Discussing Greenwood with the official Manchester United website, Ighalo stated:

“I will start with Greenwood. He’s a very good player. I think I used to see with my eyes he’s looking like Robin van Persie. He can shoot with both feet, he’s a very intelligent player, young and is not afraid.”

Greenwood has a way to go in order to reach the stature of the Dutchman, but after what he has achieved this season, which has been god, he will only get better. It will be very rewarding for him to see an experienced teammate in Ighalo, praise him like he has. Hopefully we will see Martial, Rashford, Greenwood and Ighalo shine for the club soon.

Ighalo will be raring to get started against with the club he thought he would never play for again. In his eight appearances so far, the Nigerian has scored four goals and one assist, which is a good return for the player who has played a bit part role so far. The Nigerian spoke about Solskjaer’s advice after he scored a brace against Derby County in the FA Cup, saying:

“I remember the Derby County game, I scored two goals but he called me and said you’re a striker you should score three goals.

“There was a ball [pass] I needed to shoot but Juan Mata called me and I brought it back.”

The Nigerian will be seeking more playing time for the remainder of the season then a short break and into the next season where he will remain at the club until the end of January 2021. This gives United time to find a striker to bring into the club, or at least give Greenwood more time to gain experience and fill the gap. If a right-winger signs for the club, with Martial, Rashford and Greenwood, United might not need another striker.

Odion Ighalo reveals delight at Manchester United stay after loan spell extended

Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo has revealed his delight in remaining at the Old Trafford club for the remainder of the season, and half of the next season. It was expected that the Nigerian, who arrived at United at the end of January after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made a move for an additional striker because of Marcus Rashford’s injury.

United made the confirmation on Monday that the player will no longer need to head back to China to prepare for the Chinese Super League season to start with parent club Shanghai Shenhua, which is good news for both United and the striker. Ighalo, 30, was mocked by supposed supporters of the Old Trafford club shortly after his arrival.

However, in eight appearances at the club he has scored four goals and one assist, which is a good return considering the short time he had been at the club. Now he will be able to aim for a higher number of goals as United look to confirm a top four finish in the Premier League, qualify for the UEFA Champions League and search for a trophy this season.

The Nigerian was over the moon to sign for United, a club he had supported as a child and with his knowledge of the league and the fact he scored 40 goals and 11 assists in 100 appearances for Watford, it was clear that Ighalo was the short-term option that Solskjaer was seeking. Speaking about his loan extension, Ighalo said:

“I’m really happy. It’s a dream for me to be here. I’m buzzing and ready to go.

“I feel okay. The last few days have been difficult, as there have been different talks about it, but now I’m really happy so I need to concentrate fully.

“I’m here until the end of January, so it’s good for me. I decided I want to stay and I’m happy.

“Since the first day I arrived, I made it clear that I wanted whatever it takes to continue that work.

“It was very difficult, there were some talks, but I’m happy they finally agreed and got everything done. Everything is official now.

“I’m sending thanks to the Shanghai president and director for the support, because they know this is what I want. So I’m thanking them and I’m happy this has happened. They wish me all the best too.

“Since I was young, I’ve been supporting this club and playing for it is a dream. Now I’ve extended my loan, it makes it more even clear and I’m here until the end of January.

“I just want to work hard and enjoy it, support the team and do whatever I can to make us go higher and higher.”

Ighalo and United will be raring to go when the Premier League officially returns, which is said to be on the 17 June, giving United just over two weeks to get ready for action. United’s first match should be against Tottenham Hotspur away from home, which would have been the clubs next match back in March when the league was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Odion Ighalo to remain at Manchester United until January 2021, which could solve some problems – reports

Manchester United have reportedly agreed a loan extension for Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo with the player apparently remaining at the Old Trafford club until the end of January 2021. It was expected that the striker would leave Manchester today, which was the end date for his loan spell which was agreed back in January.

Parent club, Shanghai Shenhua reportedly wanted the player back in China to prepare to start the Chinese Super League, which had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic which suspended world football in mid-March. However, United were keen to keep the player for the remainder of the season.

The Chinese club were initially reluctant to allow the Nigerian to stay will United past today and were demanding a £20 million fee for a permanent transfer. Then it was reported that if the player signed a new contract with the Chinese club, they would allow him to finish the season at United. However, United seem to have gone one better.

Reports indicate that United agreed to pay a revised loan fee, which is not yet known, getting the deal across the line before the expiry of his temporary contract with the Old Trafford club. The Nigerian’s agent Atta Aneke hinted on Norwegian outlet Nettavisien that a deal was close earlier on Sunday morning, saying:

“We are nearing agreement with Manchester United on an extended loan.

“The agreement will mean that Ighalo will remain with them until January 2021.”

United have been in talks with the Chinese club for many days and the Daily Mail had reported that the fee for the extension that United were prepared to pay was the sticking point in the deal. That seems to have been addressed, seemingly with a positive outcome for United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy to keep his squad together.

Not only for the remainder of this season, the Nigerian will spend most of next season at United, meaning the club have bought themselves some extra time in their hunt for a new striker, seemingly not having to do a deal this summer, giving them until January to sort something out, which will be good for the club in the new financial climate in football.

Odion Ighalo can stay at Manchester United for the remainder of the season on one condition – reports

Manchester United on loan striker, Odion Ighalo will be allowed to complete the 2019/20 season at the Old Trafford club on the condition that he signs a new contract with Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua, according to reports. The Nigerian is still reportedly training at United’s Carrington training ground and due to leave this weekend.

Ighalo, 30, has a contract at the Chinese club which would keep him at the Hongkou Stadium until December 2022 and they have previously offered him a new contract, worth £400,000 per week if he accepts. In January, the Nigerian completed a six-month loan deal with United, finishing the season at his boyhood club.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic which suspended world football in mid-March, he was only able to make eight appearances, scoring four goals and one assist in that time. He is due to be back in China this weekend, however, United seem willing to keep him at the club with Ighalo keen to end the season with United.

Sky Sports had previously reported that the Chinese club were only happy to extend the players loan spell until the end of the rescheduled season is an obligation for a permanent £20 million move was added, however, with United seeking Ighalo as a short term option, it was never going to work out.

It would seem that the stance has softened, presumably,ably because of the coronavirus-enforced border restrictions in China, which would stop the player from returning to the country. Perhaps a bit of thought should have been in place in China if this is true. United will have Marcus Rashford back from injury, so there is less pressure.

Having Ighalo at the club to finish the season would be fair, especially if he is not allowed to return to China because of border restrictions. There is a chance that Ighalo could help United attain a top four finish in the league and help them in the Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League, which could see the player add Chinese FA Cup medal.

Manchester United hope to extend Odion Ighalo’s loan spell – nothing is confirmed

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that he wants to extend the loan transfer of Shanghai Shenhua and former Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo as the Old Trafford step up their fitness to resume the 2019/20 season. At this moment in time, Ighalo is due to leave United at the end of the week.

The Premier League season has been on hold since mid-March with the striker appearing in the clubs last match, which was the 5-0 thrashing of LASK in the first leg of the round of 16 in the UEFA Europa League, which could be his final match for the club. In the time he has been at United, Ighalo made eight appearances, scoring four goals and one assist.

If United failed to extend the loan spell of the striker, he would be saying goodbye to his teammates before the end of the week which would be a shame for him not to help them fight for a place in the UEFA Champions League next season. United are seeking to keep the player until the end of the season, which could be August or September.

Reports state that instead of allowing the player to remain at the Old Trafford club for the remainder of the delayed season, the Chinese club are only willing to listen to offers for a permanent transfer, suggested to be around £20 million, or allowing the player to remain at the club with a clause for a compulsory purchase of the striker.

Personally, I feel this would be good for United, if Solskjaer wants that. However, with reports linking United to the likes of Moussa Dembele from Lyon, a player the club has been tracking for some time, this deal, if United made Ighalo a permanent player for the club, might stop Solskjaer from making a move for the Frenchman. Solskjaer told MUTV:

“The loan deal went until the end of May now, so obviously he’s supposed to be going back.

“We’re in dialogue. They’ve been great towards us, his club, and allowed him to play for his dream club.

“It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish off what he started, hopefully with a trophy for us.

“At the moment, nothing has been agreed. Their league is going to get started soon so we’re just waiting to see.”

Solskjaer has not ruled out the Nigerian staying at United this season and the fact that both clubs are in dialogue is a good thing. It would suggest that Shanghai Shenhua have not ruled out the possibility. There has also been reports from Foot Mercato that state Ighalo’s associate, Ladi Salami has stated the player is close to agreement over wages, saying:

“The Super Eagle feels very good in Manchester with whom he is very close to a salary agreement.

“Negotiations with the Chinese are ongoing and are going well.”

This will need to be something United act fast on as the player will be expected back in China this weekend with the Chinese Super League close to starting after it was delayed earlier in the year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully, United will be able to keep the Nigerian, allowing him to play a part in the remainder of the season, as he should have.

Nigerian striker wants to end the season with Manchester United, extending loan spell – reports

Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo wants his loan spell, which is due to expire at the end of this month, extended for the remainder of the Premier League season, whenever that may be. World football has been suspended since the coronavirus became a pandemic in mid-March. There are suggestions that the season will resume in June.

The Chinese Super League was postponed in February with rumours suggesting that it will return in late June and could be without foreign stars that play in the league, with Ighalo possibly one of those. The 30-year-old was seemingly over the moon to sign for United and actively pushed to get the loan spell actioned back in January.

Ighalo has made a total of eight appearances for this club so far this season, scoring four goals and a further assist, which is a good return from so few matches. If the coronavirus pandemic had not happened and football had played on, he could have perhaps been on double figures at this moment in time, perhaps he might if he finishes the season at United.

The Nigerian is the type of player that United should be seeking to sign permanently as his experience will help the likes of Anthony Martial. Marcus Rashford, and Mason Greenwood learn and his presence in the box is something else, or has been when he has played this season. However, a new contract offer from his Chinese club may scupper that.

There is a chance that Ighalo would accept a pay cut to stay with United permanently with him currently on around £300,000 a week in China and may have to do with less than half of that to stay at United. I sure, as a supporter of the club, and the fact he ensure this loan spell would happen, it would be something that he thought about.

The Premier League might bring in a 2019/20 loan extension, which would be similar to the system they may bring in to cover those players that will be free agents from the 1 July this year. It would mean that contract of players affected would run until the end of the day of which the final match of the season would be played.

Of course, this sort of thing would need to happen but as far as loan spell, obviously the parent club would need to be in agreement, so it does not mean that United will keep the Nigerian for the remainder of the season. As the player reportedly wants to stay longer, it might be something easy for the Chinese club to agree upon. Ighalo, speaking to the BBC, has said:

“I would like to finish the season if it’s possible. I was in good form, good shape, scoring goals and now we’ve stopped for over a month. I’ve given it my best and hopefully we’ll come back to play.

“The team had a good momentum before the pandemic started. At the moment I’m on loan, and this will cut short my time at the club.

“The club, myself, every footballer is going through a lot because we can’t do what we love and what we know how to do best, so we’re just thinking about that for now and to finish the season before we start thinking about the contract.”

There will be a number of players in the same circumstance as Ighalo and other Premier League teams will be hoping to keep players until the season finally ends. Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos, Everton’s Djibril Sidibe and Newcastle’s Nabil Bentaleb will be some of the others that will be affected. With travel likely to be a problem, they might all get to stay.

Manchester United looking to extend Odion Ighalo’s loan spell at the club – reports

Manchester United are reportedly keen to extend Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo’s loan spell at the Theatre of Dreams and have opened dup discussions with Shanghai Shenhua. The 30-year-old has entered the final month of his spell at United and with the Premier League suspended because of coronavirus, he might not play for the club again.

Ighalo joined United during the January transfer window just as the coronavirus pandemic was starting to take hold of the world. The Nigerian has played a total of eight times for the club, playing in the Premier League, the Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League, scoring four goals and one assist.

The Chinese Super League was postponed because of the pandemic and will likely commence in either June of July so there is a possibility that the Chinese club would agree to the player completing the season with United. The Manchester Evening News has reported that United want the Nigerian to complete the season and are relaxed about the striker potentially heading back to the Far East.

If Ighalo is not allowed to continue playing for United after the agreed term of his loan spell, United would have Marcus Rashford back from injury after losing his services back in January due to a back problem, which is one of the reasons for United drafting in the Nigerian in the first place. Journalist Simon Peach has also confirmed United’s desire, stating:

“Manchester United would like to extend Odion Ighalo’s stay at Old Trafford.

“The striker’s loan deal expires at the end of May but an extension for the rest of the season (assuming it restarts) depends on the situation at Shanghai Shenhua. 

“He certainly made a decent impact in a short period.

It has also been claimed that the Nigerian, a self-confessed United supporter would like to remain at the Theatre of Dreams permanently but in light of the £400,000 contract that the Shanghai club has reportedly offered him, he would need to take a significant pay cut to spend more time at United. I might be something that he is willing to do, playing a better class of football at the same time.

The Nigerian has also opened up on the advise given by United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since his loan spell at the club commenced. The 30-year-old settled quickly at the Old Trafford club, and has done well since he made his first appearance, scoring four goals and one assist in the eight appearances he has made.

Ighalo has opened up about the things he has learned from former United striker, Solskjaer, a player that made a total of 366 appearances for United, scoring 126 goals and assisting 50 more. The 30-year-old obviously found the guidance interesting and seemed to have learned from it. The striker, speaking to MUTV, stated:

“When I moved to United, I learned a few things from him. During games – there was even a game I scored in, and he said: ‘You should have scored more if you do this or do that’.

“I thought about it and I know if I would have done what Ole said, I would have scored more. He says: ‘You’re a striker, take the chance’.

“So I’ve learnt a lot from him, in terms of positioning and how to do one or two things in a game.

“As a striker, it’s good when a striker is coaching you. And, as a striker, you benefit even more than the defenders.

“He is someone who has scored goals for a long time and has done a lot for United, so it’s good to learn from him.

It would be good to see more from the Nigerian, even with Rashford back in the team the Nigerian could play a part in the remainder of the season with United still fighting in the Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League, not to mention seeking to find a place in the top four of the Premier League. Shanghai Shenhua would reportedly want £15 million for the player, which is a relatively low fee for his experience.

Manchester United want Odion Ighalo permanently but an offer on the table from China will not be matched – reports

Manchester United are seeking to sign an experienced striker this summer to help teenager Mason Greenwood’s development at the club after his breakthrough season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo to the club during the January transfer window with the player signing a six-month loan deal at the club.

Ighalo remains United’s number one target, according to reports but the offer of a new contract from his club, which plays in the Chinese Super League would not be something that United would match, especially for a player heading into the twilight years of his career. Ighalo has been a good signing so far, playing a bit-part role under Solskjaer.

Sky Sports presenter Dharmesh Sheth has spoken about the reports of Ighalo’s new contract offer from his club, Shanghai Shenhua which is reportedly around £400,000 per week to remain in China. These are great terms for any player but playing for United is a lot more high profile than playing in China. Sheth was quoted as saying:

“Manchester United have been very impressed and pleased with the progress that Mason Greenwood has made this season.

“But they do remain in the market for a striker, and the one that they want is a player that is already in their squad, Odion Ighalo on loan from Shanghai Shenhua of course.

“Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is very impressed with the impact that Ighalo has made this season and sees Ighalo as a man of experience who can help some of the younger players, including Mason Greenwood.

“However, this deal is not as easy as it sounds. That’s because Shanghai Shenhua have offered Ighalo a new contract worth around £400,000-a-week. That’s simply a wage that Manchester United would not pay.”

In eight appearances, playing 318 minutes of football since arriving at United, Ighalo has scored four goals and one assist, which is a good return for a relatively short period of time before the coronavirus pandemic stopped football all around the world. The Nigerian will be seeking to continue on that track when football returns, if he’s able to stay.

The Nigerian forward was signed on loan until the end of the season and with football still likely to continue this season and the fact that European leagues have until the 25 May to tell UEFA whether they want to continue their seasons or cancel the season, there is a chance that the players contract expires before football actually returns, but a decision will be made about that as many clubs will be affected.

Solskjaer will probably want Ighalo to continue the season at United with the club making a decision on making an offer for him. The rumours suggest that the Nigerian took a pay cut to sign for United and seemed happy doing so, even making sure the club officials heard about United’s interest in January and him wanting to get it done.

Signing a new contract in China and being paid £400,000 per week is too good to turn down, especially for a player in his 30s. Money is not everything though. Paying for United for a six month period or so may be good for him but if there is a chance he can become a permanent player, he should really think about that.

United might offer him £100,000 or even £150,000 per week to sign a three or four year contract, which is a good deal, especially if playing for United was a dream that he wanted to achieve, which seems to be the case considering the player’s urgency to get the loan deal done and move back to England. Personally, he’s an ideal player to have in the team.

He may not be the biggest name in world football but he has been somewhat of a revelation when he has played this season, having five goal contributions (four goals and one assist) in the eight matches he has played in. If that continues, it will only be a certainty as to whether United sign him permanently, which would be good for United, Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

Why have so few African players succeeded for Manchester United?

Odion Ighalo secured his dream move to Manchester United on the last day of the January transfer window, joining the team the Nigerian says he has supported since he was a child. However, Ighalo is not the only African to support the club, far from it. United have millions of fans around the world and the Manchester Evening News has reported that the latest figures have seen steady rises in Africa.

“People support Manchester United a lot back there in Nigeria, so I developed that love, because all of my siblings, they are Manchester United fans.”

Ighalo on how he began supporting United.

Despite followership increasing, fans in Africa do not have a player from their continent who has been seen as an iconic player in the red shirt. Although many will be hoping Ighalo does well, to the club he is only a short-term fix until the end of the season. Ighalo is the 7th African player to play for Manchester United and the rest of the list is far from glamorous.

The likes of Manucho, Wilfried Zaha, Eric Djemba-Djemba and Mame Biram Diouf have all been seen as disastrous flops and fans in Africa would not be forgiven for forgetting that these players were even at the club at all. These fans follow United for their illustrious history, but they have never had a player to represent them in the past like Didier Drogba or Yaya Toure, or even like what currently Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are doing in the Premier League for United’s rivals.

Of course, United do have an African player in their ranks in Eric Bailly, but his injury record since his first season has hampered his progress and has the Ivorian has not played a single game this season for the club. It’s likely that United may be looking to shift Bailly on in the summer and his time at the club might be coming to an end. In fact, in the last 11 months, he has played the same amount for his national team as he has for United, having played for the Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations.

It’s worth wondering whether the club are reluctant to sign African players because of the African Cup of Nations taking place in the middle of the season every two years. The likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, Hakim Ziyech and Thomas Partey have all been linked with the club in recent transfer windows, all in areas where the Reds need strengthening, but no moves have materialised.

These players would most likely prefer to represent their country as it is such a big honour for them and this would leave the club with a headache of players not being able to play in one of the most congested months of the season.

One player who has succeed from Africa is the man who used to wear Odion Ighalo’s new shirt number, 25. South African Quinton Fortune joined after the Treble success of 1999 and lasted seven years before leaving in 2006. Fortune was a key player for Ferguson to fill in at full back and in midfield in crucial games, especially when the Scot was rebuilding his next great team between 2003 and 2005. After retiring, Fortune was a regular pundit on MUTV and last year became a coach of the U23 side alongside Neil Wood.

Fortune is the biggest African icon United have had but now Ighalo has a chance in the coming months to potentially outdo his legacy by scoring the goals that would land a place in the UEFA Champions League. If he were to succeed then potentially he could be the start of more African players joining the club and following their dream to play in the Premier League for United.

Written by Alex Metcalfe

copyright: JW