English Premiership

From taking a pay cut to choosing his jersey number, Ighalo tells it all

Odion Ighalo (Manchester United website)
Odion Ighalo (Manchester United website)

Cape Town - In his very first interview as a Manchester United player, newly signed striker Odion Ighalo explains in detail his dream becoming a reality.

Signing a six-month loan deadline day deal last Friday, the Nigerian says that he was desperate to make the move happen after his agent informed him that the English giants were interested.

"A few other clubs had shown interest," he said in an interview with MUTV. "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. 'My agent wants to speak to you, United are coming for me, you have to make this happen' and all that you know.

"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." 

He then further shares the significance of choosing his jersey number 25 in which fellow African (South African), Quinton Fortune, donned during his time as a player at United.

"No 19 was available. When I was at Watford, I put on 24, 24 is not available," he told MUTV. "In Shanghai No 9, it's not available so I said 24 + 1 is 25, so I said OK let me go for 25 instead of 19.

"I watched Quinton Fortune play for Man United, he's a great player, and I know he put on 25. So, I said 25 is good even though I didn't get the number I was looking for. Twenty-five is a perfect number. One above what I wore before when I was in the Premier League."

- Compiled by Tashreeq Vardien