Manchester United’s deadline day loan arrival from Shanghai Shenhua of China, Odion Jude Ighalo is attr5acting varying points of focus and analysis from football pundits, ahead of his expected debut back in the English Premier League, megasportsarena.com reports.
Other things being equal, Ighalo should be on United’s bench for Monday’s cracker away to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, ahead of which three renowned English soccer buffs have issued different verdicts for the former Super Eagles’ striker.
It is a return to the EPL spotlight for Ighalo, for starred for Watford in the same league for a season and half, during which time he started three league games against Chelsea but did not get on the scorers’ sheet, such that The Blues’ historian, Rick Glanvill and club statistician, Paul Dutton are divided in their verdicts about his ability to score on Monday.
Glanvill and Dutton, however, agreed that Ighalo is a natural goals scorer in an old-school centre-forward style, who finished the season as 20th in the Chinese Super League scoring charts, despite his run being disrupted by injuries.
The Blues’ duo stated on Chelsea’s official website: “Manchester United made two additions in January: Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua. At his best, for Quique Sanchez Flores’s Watford, Ighalo was the natural finisher in an old-school centre-forward pairing. Last season the Nigerian was 22nd in the China Super League list of leading goalscorers with 10.
“The 30-year-old Nigerian’s involvement on Monday is in some doubt, though, as his last match action was in early December and he has been training by himself rather than meeting his new club-mates at their training camp in Andalusia.”
On his part, Tottenham Hotspur’s former captain and coach, Tim Sherwood identified five key qualities Ighalo has that make him a top striker, which he believes will make the soft-spoken star a delight with United’s boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Sherwood said: “If they want to play counter attacking football as we think they will, they will suffer out of possession, they are going to allow Chelsea to have possession and they are going to try to catch them on the counter attack.
“If Ighalo has done enough training, I will play him because he is a focal point. He gives you that size, he gives you that presence, he likes to feel, he likes to bring others in. They’ve got him until the end of the season, he wants to stay there – the biggest club in the world.
“He can’t believe his luck, he’s pinching himself every morning he wakes up he’s a Manchester United player, he wants to earn himself a long-term contract. If he’s going to be used off the bench, maybe initially because he’s short of fitness but with the injuries they’ve got at the moment, why not start him. I’ll be very tempted to start him.”