Solskjaer, Merson Cross Words Over Ighalo
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he is impressed with the spirit and enthusiasm of Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo since his transfer from Shanghai Shenhua on a loan deal.
Though the 30-year-old striker was not part of United’s six-day winter training camp in Spain due to’ border restrictions’ in the wake of the Coronavirus epidemic in China, Solskjaer said the arrival of the Nigeria was a major boost to the club.
“Of course, we want players here who want to give everything they’ve got and Odion I know from before,” Solskjaer said in an exclusive chat with MUTV.
“He played in Norway and he’s got such a lovely personality, a great character and he’s going to come in and be a big, big boost for himself, his family, his country, but also our group.”
But former Arsenal playmaker Paul Merson has claimed that Ed Woodward and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be in “big trouble” if Odion Ighalo does not end up being a big success at Manchester United.
Writing in his column for the Daily Star, Merson said: “Odion Ighalo could be the final straw at Manchester United.
“If that signing is a disaster then Ed Woodward and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are in big trouble. Don’t get me wrong. He could rediscover the form he once he had at Watford and be a huge success. But he could be the biggest laughing stock the Premier League has ever seen. Only time will tell.
“But remember, the last time he was here he only scored once in 18 games before Watford sold him and he’ll have gotten lazy playing in China.
“I’ve heard people compare it with Henrik Larsson because nobody expected him to still be any good when United signed him either.
“But Larsson had been world class. He had scored goals in major tournaments and won big trophies. And he still had his finishing and his movement.
“Ighalo doesn’t have any of that on his CV and he’s coming into a struggling team. The biggest one he’s ever played for.
“It’s a big ask, and if it all goes horribly wrong it will just pile more pressure on the manager because you’re always judged on your signings as well as your results.”
Meanwhile, Ighalo has been registered by Manchester United for the Europa League and will be eligible for the upcoming tie against Club Brugge.
The deadline-day arrival from Shanghai Shenhua could be involved when the Reds travel to Belgium in the round of 32 on Thursday 20 February.
The game comes hot on the heels of the Premier League clash at Chelsea next Monday, where Ighalo is expected to make his debut.