Odion Ighalo insists he is “so happy” to have been able to represent Manchester United but admits he left his dream club due to a lack of playing time.
The 31-year-old joined Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua in January last year on an initial six-month loan.
The former Watford striker’s deal was then extended in June 2020 until January this year, when he left for Saudi side Al-Shabab after scoring five goals in 23 appearances for the men. ‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Odion Ighalo has revealed he is happy to have played for Manchester United but admitted that the lack of playing time forced him to leave.
Speaking now to Sky Sports, Ighalo revealed that he continues to love the club he supports as a boy ‘with all my heart’ but wants a role more than his peripheral status at United.
When asked if he could have stayed beyond January of this year, Ighalo said: “There wasn’t a lot of possibility because I wanted more playing time. At my age, I want to play and not just sit on the bench and not have minutes.
“I didn’t just want to be there for a paycheck – I wanted to be involved, so I told my agent if an offer comes in I’m going to look at it and see what is best for me, what I am doing. have done .
“I’m so happy that my path crossed with Manchester United – this is the club that I love with all my heart and for all my life, so playing for them was a great privilege that I don’t take for granted.
The 31-year-old Nigerian striker has scored five goals in 23 games for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men
“Whatever circumstances brought me to leave, I will always be grateful to the coach, my teammates, the fans and everyone around Manchester United. After my initial loan extended I didn’t gamble much which maybe was a little unfair but like I said I’m still grateful for the opportunity.
However, while being part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not an avenue he plans to pursue, Ighalo has revealed that both West Ham and West Brom have made offers to keep him in the Premier League.
Still, the former Nigeria international felt he had achieved his ambitions after playing for his “dream” club.
“Yes, there was the possibility for West Ham and West Brom to stay in the Premier League, which I thought about,” he added.
He also revealed that he turned down offers from West Ham and West Brom to stay in England
But after being at Manchester United, the biggest club in England if not the world, what else could I do in the Premier League?
“I had good offers to stay in England, but I just didn’t think I could stay after fulfilling my dream of playing for the club that I had supported since I was young. ”
Paul Pogba is one of Ighalo United’s former teammates who has been linked to follow him out of the Old Trafford exit gate this summer.
Reports over the weekend claimed United players would be devastated if he left amid continued talks about a return to former club Juventus.
Ighalo also urged Old Trafford chiefs to do everything possible to keep midfielder Paul Pogba
But Ighalo believes United’s board must do everything in their power to keep the ‘influential’ 28-year-old French midfielder.
“He’s one of the best players I’ve played with and one of the best Manchester United players. Other than playing on the pitch, he’s a good guy in the locker room, a funny guy, he’s always happy.
“The only time he’s not happy is when he’s not playing and I can understand that – everyone wants to play. If Manchester United have the opportunity to keep him on a new, longer deal, they should because he is so influential.