Getting To FA Cup Final ‘Would Make My Dreams Perfect,’ Says Ighalo

Ighalo joined Manchester United in a surprise move at the close of the January 2020 transfer window,
File: Ighalo joined Manchester United in a surprise move at the close of the January 2020 transfer window,

 

 

Nigerian striker, Odion Ighalo is determined to help Manchester United reach the final of the English FA Cup, saying it “would make my dreams perfect.”

Ighalo, 31, is on loan at the Old Trafford side until January 2021 and has been impressive since joining them early 2020.

While speaking ahead of United’s FA Cup semi-final clash with Chelsea on Sunday, the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) top scorer, said he would “fight hard” to ensure the Reds win the game.

 

Nigeria Grab Early Lead In Tunisia AFCON Third Place Clash
File photo: Nigeria’s forward Odion Ighalo (2nd-R) dribbles past Tunisia’s defender Nassim Hnid during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) third place play-off football match between Tunisia and Nigeria at the Al Salam stadium in Cairo on July 17, 2019. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

According to him, even though playing against Frank Lampard’s men would be a tough one, his teammates are ready to “give everything” to beat them and reach the final of the competition.

He recalled how he missed getting to the final of the FA Cup in 2016 when he was with Watford and said the match against the Blues is another chance for him to do that with the club he has been supporting “all my life.”

“To get to the final would be great for me in my life and my career,” he told the club’s website.

“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.”

Potential London Final

On Saturday, Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double clinched a shock 2-0 win for Arsenal over holders Manchester City at Wembley.

 

Arsenal's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) leaps for the ball as Manchester City's French defender Benjamin Mendy (R) defends during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP) / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE
File photo: Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) leaps for the ball as Manchester City’s French defender Benjamin Mendy (R) defends during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP)

 

The win means the North London side will take on the victors from the Chelsea vs Manchester United match in the final at Wembley on August 1.

Arteta captained Arsenal to FA Cup triumph six years ago and, in his first season in charge of the north London club, the Spaniard has led them back to the final of a competition they last won in 2017.

Just days after beating Premier League champions Liverpool, Arsenal offered further evidence that Arteta could be the man to restore them to the glory days of the Arsene Wenger era.

Ighalo Excited By ‘Dream’ Man Utd Extension

In this file photo taken on February 27, 2020 Manchester United's Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo reacts at the final whistle during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg football match between Manchester United and Club Brugge at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on February 27, 2020.  Oli SCARFF / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 27, 2020 Manchester United’s Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo reacts at the final whistle during the UEFA Europa League round of 32-second leg football match between Manchester United and Club Brugge at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on February 27, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Odion Ighalo said on Tuesday he was living the dream after his loan move to Manchester United was extended despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The Nigeria international, a lifelong United fan, joined the club on loan from Shanghai Shenhua in January due to the COVID-19 situation then prevailing in China.

But the virus then spread to Europe and brought the Premier League season to a halt in mid-March.

It looked then as if the 30-year-old’s career with United might amount to just eight games given his original deal was due to expire on May 31.

But ahead of the Premier League season resuming on June 17, United said Monday they had agreed with Shenhua to extend Ighalo’s loan move until January.

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

“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.”

The most recent of Ighalo’s four goals for United came in a Europa League match away to LASK, a fixture played behind closed doors as a result of coronavirus measures in Austria.

Fixtures without spectators will become the norm when the Premier League resumes and Ighalo, recalling his experience, said: “It was strange, you know, but it’s OK.

“We know there is nothing we can do now but play behind closed doors and we’re happy to do it.

“In the game against LASK, it was strange because you could hear everything when your team-mates shouted. In a normal game, you can’t hear, but it was clear and loud.

“It’s a bit strange without fans, and difficult, but we have to be safe so we have to do it.”

Man United Close To Extending Ighalo’s Loan Deal, Says Agent

Ighalo joined Manchester United in a surprise move at the close of the January 2020 transfer window,
Ighalo joined Manchester United in a surprise move at the close of the January 2020 transfer window,

 

Premier League giants, Manchester United are “nearing” a loan deal extension for Nigerian forward, Odion Ighalo.

Ighalo’s six-month loan deal from Shanghai Shenhua is supposed to end on Sunday (today) with the Chinese Super League club earlier saying they wanted the player back.

The player’s agent, Atta Aneke, has, however, revealed that Ighalo is close to extending his stay with the Old Trafford side he joined on the January 2020 transfer deadline day.

According to Atta, negotiations between Shangai and United are ongoing and an agreement is expected to be reached on Sunday.

“We are nearing an agreement with Manchester United on an extended loan,” the agent was quoted as telling Norwegian outlet, Nettavisen. “The agreement will mean that Ighalo will remain with them until January 2021.”

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Shanghai were eager to take the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) highest goals scorer back as the Chinese Super League is set to resume at the end of June or July.

The club were ready to let Ighalo join Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on a permanent basis if United could pay at least £20 million.

United, however, want the player but not on a permanent deal and are offering another seven months that will see him stay at the club until January 2021.
Since joining the English side, Ighalo has bagged four goals in eight games in all competitions.

Ighalo Set For United Exit As Chinese Club Reject Loan Extension

A file photo of Odion Ighalo. Source: [email protected]

 

Nigerian striker, Odion Ighalo could be on his way out of Manchester United after his parent club, Shanghai Shenhua rejected the Old Trafford side’s request to keep him for another three months.

Ighalo, 30, joined United on the January transfer deadline day this year and has won many hearts with his display which has seen him scoring four goals in eight matches.

United signed the former Watford striker on a six months loan deal for £3m following an injury to English star, Marcus Rashford.

READ ALSO: NFF President Pinnick Condoles With Eagles Star Osimhen Over Father’s Death

Although Ighalo wants to stay back with the Red Devils who are interested in keeping the Nigerian until August when the season ends, the Chinese Super League outfit are asking the player to return to the Asian country to finish off the delayed campaign, according to Daily Mail.

Already, they have offered him a two-year contract extension of £400,000 a week until 2024.

With contract talks stalled and pending a late breakthrough, Ighalo may have played his last match for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team as his loan deal elapses on Monday, May 31.

The English giants may have to pay about £20million – an amount Shanghai are willing to let go of the Nigerian – to get him on a permanent deal if speculations about the player’s future are anything to go by.

But that cannot go through until the beginning of the summer transfer window in August.

The 30-year-old resumed training the United squad at Carrington last week but it remains unclear if Ighalo will be at the Old Trafford by this time next week.

Nigerian Star Ighalo Eager To Extend Man United Deal

A file photo of Odion Ighalo. Source: [email protected]

 

Former Super Eagles star, Odion Ighalo, is eager to extend his stay with Manchester United until the end of the Premier League season. 

Ighalo, 30, joined the Premier League side from Chinese Super League outfit, Shanghai Shenhua in January and his contract with the Old Trafford side will expire on May 31.

The Premier League is expected to restart in June after going on a break due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but with the Chinese league set to resume, the Nigerian may return to the Asian nation.

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Staying back with Red Devils until the end of the season, however, is something the former Watford man wants

“I would like to finish the season if it’s possible,” Ighalo was quoted as telling BBC Sport.

The player noted that before the season went on a break, he was in a good form, and scoring goals for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

According to him, he gave his best to the team and is hoping that play will restart soon.

Reflecting on the team’s form before the league was paused, Ighalo said United was having a “good momentum” but expressed worries that since he is on loan, his time with the club may be cut short.

The Premier League giants are keen to extend Ighalo’s contract with the player having scored four goals in eight matches in all competitions for the club.

Clubs and players are passing through a lot this period as they have not been able to do what they love, according to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) highest goalscorer.

He explained that as efforts are being made to restart and finish the season, contract talks would not be on the radar at the moment.

“I just want everyone to be safe and see what the future holds,” he added.

With nine games remaining, Solskjaer’s men are fifth on the league log and Ighalo hopes the Premier League will take the right decision and restart play when it is safe to do so.

Clubs in England’s top division will meet on Monday to discuss a possible resumption date for the season.

I’m Inspired By Manchester United’s Direction, Says Nigerian Striker Ighalo

A file photo of Odion Ighalo.

 

Manchester United striker, Odion Ighalo, has said he is inspired by the club’s direction and how they take the development of young players.

The Nigerian who teamed up with the Premier League giants during the January transfer window (on a loan spell till the end of the season) from Chinese Super League side, Shangai Shenhua, believes United is different from what people side outside.

According to the former Watford goal poacher, the Red Devils are a big team with a good structure which may sometimes take being an insider to see.

Ighalo hailed the Old Trafford side for how they have handled youth development, adding that he looks forward to spending more time with the side.

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“I am inspired by the way the club is structured, I am inspired by the direction of the club, I am inspired by the development of the young players and how they are coming through from the grassroots to the first team,” he told Manchester United’s official website when asked the most inspiring thing about the club.

Also, the player described himself as a beast on the field of play, contrary to the gentle nature people ascribe to him.

According to Ighalo, he is an individual who never gives up and will fight, including on the field, to the end even in face of challenges.

The player will be hoping to get a permanent deal from the 1999 Champions League winners when the season, postponed over the coronavirus pandemic, restarts.

It ‘Feels Good’ Playing At Old Trafford I Used To Watch – Ighalo

Manchester United's Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo scores his team's second goal during the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Derby County and Manchester United at Pride Park Stadium in Derby, central England on March 5, 2020. Photo: Oli Scarff / AFP
File: Manchester United’s Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo scores his team’s second goal during the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Derby County and Manchester United at Pride Park Stadium in Derby, central England on March 5, 2020. Photo: Oli Scarff / AFP

 

Odion Ighalo has expressed joy at playing for Manchester United at the Old Trafford, saying it “feels good.”

The Nigerian forward who joined United on a six-month loan from Chinese Super League side, Shanghai Shenhua, has been in fine form for the English giants.

He has netted four goals in eight games thus far for the Red Devils and has on several occasions, described playing for the team he supported as a child as a dream come true.

According to the former Watford man, he used to go to event centres, and pay money to watch Manchester United matches back then in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: English Football Extends Shutdown Till April 30

He was quoted on the club’s official website as saying that he first visited the Old Trafford in 2013.

Ighalo admitted that it was a surreal moment for him then as he was outside the edifice taking photos.

The striker, in 2016 while still on the payroll of Watford, finally played at the Theatre of Dreams, a moment he said “feels good.”

“And even now, playing for United? It’s making even greater moments for me,” the player said.

Speaking further, he recalled he had a Manchester United shirt but noted that his name was not written at the back because he could not afford it.

United are considering signing the Nigerian on a permanent deal at the end of his short stint.

Ighalo Double Powers United Past Rooney’s Derby Into FA Cup Quarters

Manchester United’s Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo (25) scores his team’s third goal during the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Derby County and Manchester United on March 5, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Odion Ighalo ruined Wayne Rooney’s hopes of leading Derby to an FA Cup upset against Manchester United as the Nigeria striker’s double sealed a 3-0 win in the fifth round on Thursday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were always in control at Pride Park and Luke Shaw opened the scoring before Ighalo took over to dash Rooney’s bid to knock out his former club.

United will travel to Premier League strugglers Norwich in their sixth successive quarter-final appearance in a competition they have won 12 times.

Ighalo has only been at United for a few weeks after arriving from China, but his second and third goals for the club stole the spotlight from Old Trafford icon Rooney.

Rooney left United in 2017 after 13 glittering years including five Premier League titles, Champions League glory and a club record 253 goals.

The 34-year-old had spells at Everton and DC United before joining second-tier Derby in a player-coach role alongside boss Phillip Cocu in January.

It was the first time Rooney had faced United since playing for Everton in January 2018 and he remains without a goal in seven appearances against them.

Eighteen years after he burst onto the scene as a teenager with a brilliant goal for Everton against Arsenal, Rooney remains one of English football’s most fascinating figures and he was the centre of attention as fans from both teams chanted his name before kick-off.

But, no longer the effervescent menace who terrorised defenders with his power and poise, Rooney is playing in a deep-lying role these days and he couldn’t quite roll back the years in the face of a composed United display.

It was a Derby player 16 years younger than Rooney who almost gave the hosts a shock lead when Louis Sibley fired just wide from long-range.

Rooney went even closer with a curling free-kick that forced Sergio Romeo to make a sprawling save at his near post.

There are six changes for United as Romero started in goal for David De Gea after his howler in the draw at Everton last weekend, while Harry Maguire was ruled out with an ankle injury.

Bruno Fernandes, the new idol for United fans, was in the team and the Portugal midfielder was starting to pull the strings.

United looked more dangerous once Fernandes heated up and Derby keeper Kelle Roos made a superb save to repel Ighalo’s shot from just six yards.

United’s pressure paid off with a fortunate opener in the 33rd minute.

Fernandes’ shot was deflected high into the air and Shaw met it with a half-volley from the edge of the area, the ball taking a wicked bounce off Jesse Lingard and looping over Roos into the net.

Shaw turned provider as United doubled their lead eight minutes later.

Advancing with intent towards the Derby area, the left-back squeezed a pass into Ighalo, who turned away from two defenders before poking his shot past Roos from six yards.

Rooney was unable to stem the tide and his response was a frustrated foul on Scott McTominay that earned him a booking.

Choosing a more palatable approach to leading the Derby fightback early in the second half, Rooney unfurled a sumptuous pass to Jayden Bogle, whose cross was headed just wide by Martyn Waghorn.

Ighalo ended any hopes of a Rooney-inspired revival in the 70th minute.

Juan Mata picked out Ighalo in the area and when the 30-year-old’s initial shot was blocked, he kept his composure to guide the rebound into the net.

In what would have been an emotional finale for Rooney, his free-kick almost crept in until Romero made a brilliant tip-over.

AFP

Ancelotti Sees Red As Man Utd Draw Everton 

Manchester United’s French striker Anthony Martial (L) and Everton’s English midfielder Tom Davies vie to header the ball during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park in Manchester United, north west England on March 1, 2020.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was sent off after approaching the referee as yet more VAR controversy contributed to a fiery finish in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday.

Goalkeeping errors by both United’s David De Gea and Everton’s Jordan Pickford were central to the outcome at Goodison Park.

But Everton thought they had won the game in stoppage time when a shot from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who had opened the scoring, deflected off United’s Harry Maguire and into the net.

The goal, however, was ruled out by the video assistant referee with the offside Gylfi Sigurdsson, lying in the path of De Gea, deemed to have obstructed the view of the keeper.

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Veteran Italian manager Ancelotti was as unhappy as the home crowd on Merseyside, with the Toffees boss sent off after approaching referee Chris Kavanagh on the field.

The draw saw fifth-placed United miss the chance to cut the gap to Chelsea in fourth to a single point in the Premier League table as Everton stayed in 11th position.

Anthony Martial returned to the United line-up in one of five changes to the side made by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following the Europa League victory over Club Brugge in midweek.

Ancelotti made five changes as well, with Andre Gomes starting in midfield for the first time since early November following a severe ankle injury.

It took Everton just three minutes to break the deadlock with a bizarre goal that delighted the Goodison Park faithful.

There seemed little danger as De Gea dwelt on a clearance.

But his eventual kick downfield was blocked by the charging Calvert-Lewin, with the rebound flying into the unguarded United net.

De Gea did make amends in part by denying Calvert-Lewin a second goal by tipping a shot wide while, at the other end of the pitch, Nemanja Matic hit the crossbar as United sought an equaliser.

Another goalkeeping error helped United draw level in the 31st minute when England number one Pickford, with national manager Gareth Southgate watching from the stands, failed to cover Bruno Fernandes’ speculative, if well-struck, effort from long range.

Everton midfielder Sigurdsson went close to making it 2-1 to the Toffees early in the second half.

United’s Victor Lindelof carelessly gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box and Sigurdsson saw his curling strike come back off the post, with Richarlison unable to get the rebound on target as he followed up.

Pickford, as De Gea had done earlier in the game, then atoned for a costly mistake to keep his side in the match.

In the closing moments of normal time, he blocked Fernandes’ initial shot and then acrobatically dashed across his goal to keep out Odion Ighalo’s follow-up.

AFP

Ighalo Took Pay Cut To Join Man Utd

Ighalo joined Manchester United in a surprise move at the close of the January 2020 transfer window,
Ighalo joined Manchester United in a surprise move at the close of the January 2020 transfer window,

 

Lifelong Manchester United fan Odion Ighalo said he had no hesitation in taking a pay cut to complete his dream deadline-day switch to Old Trafford, enduring a sleepless night as the deal was hammered out.

United were already short in attack following the summer departures of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku and a back injury sustained by Marcus Rashford, making a reinforcement during the January transfer window of crucial importance to the Old Trafford club.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked at a variety of options and eventually completed a late loan deal for ex-Watford striker Ighalo, who has joined until the end of the season from Shanghai Shenhua.

“I’m very happy,” the Nigeria forward told United’s website. “First, I want say thank God for making this happen and it’s just like a dream come true for me.

“People that know me, even back in Nigeria, and even when I was playing at Watford, my team-mates knew that I loved Man United, I support them. When I played against Man U, that emotion is there, because it is my dream.

“It is a nice reality, so I’m very happy and I’m looking forward to start.”

Ighalo, 30, followed Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes into Old Trafford, with the forward calling his last-minute move “very dramatic”, having been informed by his agent the day before of United’s interest.

“From 11:00 pm (2300 GMT) there was paperwork, negotiating and all that, for the loan deal and all that, so we are talking and other teams are calling them, wanting me,” he said.

“But I told my agent that this is what I want. I want to come here.

“He said ‘you’re going to get a pay cut to go to United’. I said I don’t care. Make this deal happen. I want to go to United. I don’t care how much is the pay cut, I know that, make it happen.”

Ighalo, who will be the first Nigerian to play for Manchester United, said there had been huge excitement among his family and friends.

“It was crazy because, all over the news for the last few days, is about my deal to Man United,” he said. “Even the street I grew up on, they are doing parties, celebrating Ighalo signing for United.”

Solskjaer’s side are currently seventh in the Premier League table, with United a huge 38 points behind runaway leaders and arch-rivals Liverpool.

 

AFP

Joining United Is Going To Be A Big Challenge For My Career, Says Ighalo

 

Manchester United’s surprise signing, Odion Ighalo has revealed that he never saw himself joining the prestigious club and he is ready for the challenge that comes with it.

He made this known in an interview which was posted via the Manchester United Twitter handle on Tuesday.

In the brief clip, Ighalo said he never thought the dream move was going to happen.

He has however said, he will live up to the billing.

The former Nigerian striker also talked about his love affair with his new club.

When we were young back then in Nigeria we used to watch the Premier League on Tv and all that; when the likes of Andy Cole and Dwight York used to play, people used to support Man Utd.  I developed that love since all my siblings were Man Utd fans and watching the game back home,” Ighalo revealed.

He also stated that he was in no way downplaying the immense pressure that comes with signing for a club like Manchester United

” I am very happy to be here and it is going to be a big and good challenge during my career.”

Odion Ighalo’s signing comes after an injury blow to Marcus Rashford and the departure of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to Inter -Milan on permanent and loan deals respectively.

The necessity for additional firepower has been further emphasized by Manchester United’s three consecutive Premier League matches without a goal.

Below is the snippet of Odion Ighalo’s interview

Ighalo Says United Move Is ‘Dream Come True’

Odion Ighalo has retired from Nigeria's Super Eagles
Odion Ighalo (L) has retired from Nigeria’s Super Eagles

 

Former Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo says his unexpected move to Manchester United is a “dream come true”.

Ighalo arrived in Manchester from China on Sunday following his transfer deadline-day switch from Shanghai Shenhua.

The 30-year-old former Watford star, who grew up as a United fan, joined the Old Trafford club for the remainder of the season as cover for the injured Marcus Rashford.

“It is a dream come true because since I was kid I always dreamt about Man United,” Ighalo told Sky Sports on his arrival in Manchester.

“This is reality now. It has been crazy, but I am happy to be in Manchester and this is a great opportunity for me.

“I am happy to work hard with the team, and to finish very well this season.”

Ighalo turned down another Premier League club to join United and has set his sights on lifting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s troubled side back towards the Premier Leagues top four.

The Nigeria international scored 16 times in 55 Premier League appearances for Watford before moving to Changchun Yatai in January 2017, and then Shanghai Shenhua two years later.