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Monday 30 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
ManUtd.com Odion Ighalo holding up the Man United shirt.
# Dream Move
Lifelong Man United fan Ighalo reveals taking a pay-cut and turning down other clubs
The striker, who becomes the club’s first Nigerian player, has talked about his deadline-day drama.

ODION IGHALO HAS revealed that he took a pay-cut to join Manchester United on loan from Shanghai Shenhua on deadline day.

Ighalo joined up with the Red Devils on a short-term deal set to run until the end of the season last Friday, becoming the fifth signing of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign at Old Trafford.

The Norwegian was desperate to bring in an extra centre-forward to replace Marcus Rashford, who was recently ruled out of action until April with a back injury.

United were tipped to sign teenage sensation Erling Haaland from Red Bull Salzburg when the winter market opened, but he ended up moving to Borussia Dortmund instead despite sitting down for talks with Solskjaer.

A number of top players were linked with moves to Old Trafford in the weeks that followed, and the club reportedly saw a late bid for Bournemouth’s Josh King rejected before setting their sights on Ighalo.

Speaking at his official unveiling on Wednesday, Ighalo has offered an insight into the frantic nature of last week’s negotiations, while claiming that he had also received offers from a “few other clubs”.

“Yeah, it was very dramatic. My agent called me the day before and said Man United. I would love to go,” He told MUTV . “A few other clubs had shown interest, I said please, just pick United, if it’s going to be possible.

“At 11pm in Shanghai, my agent called me [to say] that United want to do the deal, so I woke up that night and started looking for a translator to go to the directors’ room and hit his door and all that. I said: ‘My agent wants to speak to you, United are coming for me, you have to make this happen’.

“So they started talking and discussing. I didn’t sleep throughout that night, because it was going to end at 7am, Shanghai time, and the transfer [window] is going to close there.

“So, from 11pm, 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, 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’.

“So the director and everybody didn’t know what to say anymore, because I had already made up my mind, so my agent started putting it in order, and, at 5am, we finished.

“My agent said he’d forwarded all the papers to United, they will confirm for me if everything is okay. I think, around 5-6am, he said everything is okay, it’s done.

“I was excited. I called my mum and she was happy and crying. This is your dream and all that and I’m happy for you. It was dramatic, I didn’t sleep through, I was very happy that finally, we got the deal done.”

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2019-africa-cup-of-nations-tunisia-vs-nigeria DPA / PA Images He was top scorer in last year's Africa Cup of Nations with five goals. DPA / PA Images / PA Images

Ighalo — who has prior experience in the Premier League with Watford — has previously admitted to being a lifelong United fan , and he went on to describe just how much the club means to him.

“I’m very happy. First, I want to say thank God for making this happen and it’s just like a dream come true for me, because I know many people used to say when they join a team, they say that they dream of playing for that team,” he said.

“Mine was not the case. I supported the team when I was young. 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 United 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 starting.”

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