MANCHESTER, England, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign former Watford forward Odion Ighalo on loan from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua, Sky Sports reported on Friday.
Nigerian Ighalo, who will offer cover for injured forward Marcus Rashford, has Premier League experience, having scored 33 goals in 82 games for Watford before moving to Chinese Super League club Changchun Yatai in 2017, for a reported 20 million pounds ($26.29 million).
The 30-year-old is expected to complete a six-month loan and become the second senior addition to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad after the signing of Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon for an initial 55 million euros ($61.02 million) fee.
The surprise move for Ighalo comes after United failed to land their prime January target, Norwegian Erling Haaland who instead chose to move to Borussia Dortmund from RB Salzburg.
With only Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial as striking options, Solskjaer badly needed an additional forward and Ighalo, while not a player many would have expected to head to Old Trafford, offers an experienced, low-risk option.
A Nigerian international, Ighalo has scored 16 goals in 35 games for his country, including featuring in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
$1 = 0.7608 pounds $1 = 0.9014 euros Reporting by Simon Evans Editing by Ian Chadband