Odion Ighalo has revealed how he turned down a rare opportunity to play for Spanish giants, Barcelona, before his celebrated summer deadline transfer to Manchester United.
The former Super Eagles’ prolific striker told BBC Sport that Barcelona had offered him a six-month loan deal as a back-up striker, but he rejected it because he did not want to be a part time player.
“My agent spoke to me about a loan interest from Barcelona. The club wanted a striker with La Liga experience and someone who understands Spanish football.
“It was meant to be a six-month loan and strictly as a back-up striker. It was nice to hear that Barcelona were interested and any footballer would be more than happy to take it.
“But, with due respect, I had just finished as the second top scorer in China with 21 goals; I deserve better and didn’t want to be a short-term player somewhere. We rejected it, it was an easy decision to make,” he said.
Ighalo has become a cult hero at Manchester United in his short time at the club. His future, however, remains unclear, amid reports United wants to sign him while Shanghai Shenhua wishes to retain him.
The former Watford striker has helped United to a recent unbeaten run, but it could have been very different.
Ighalo’s decision to wait paid off as he landed a dream loan move to Manchester United in Janaury.
The decision to accept a loan move made more sense this January amid uncertainty in China, and the fact United was his boyhood team growing up.
While the deal with Barcelona would have been a short-term one, it would have put him in the shop window last summer and there is a strong chance he would not have been available at the end of January
2020, like he was.