Having netted 14 times in his first Premier League campaign, Watford striker Odion Ighalo is hot property, with a number of clubs in England and across the continent reportedly interested in the Hornets star.
A move to Manchester United is 5/1, with La Liga sides Valencia and Granada – where Ighalo spent two loan spells – also 5/1 apiece to acquire the Nigerian international.
But the Old Trafford club should do everything in their power to bring Ighalo to Manchester this summer. Here are five reasons why.
He’s more than just a goalscorer
Notching 14 goals for the Premier League’s joint-second lowest scorers is quite an achievement in itself, but Ighalo’s game is not just about boosting his own tally. With several assists to his name, the tireless forward has also helped strike partner Troy Deeney to boost his tally.
And he’s not an egotistical player who will rest on his laurels, telling the Guardian in December 2015, “I just want to keep going and giving my best for Watford.”
That attitude would only be beneficial in a Manchester United squad who have surrendered points too easily this season when the going has been tough.
He’s a boyhood United fan
Ighalo possesses a fondness for the Old Trafford club which suggests he may take little persuading if his boyhood heroes placed a bid for the Nigerian.
Speaking to the Mirror before the January transfer window, the striker said: “I don’t think I will be moving but I’m not sure I’d say no if United called.”
He continued, “They were my team growing up. I loved watching Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke on TV. They were my idols and playing at Old Trafford has always been a dream.”
If a move to the red half of Manchester materialises, such sentiments will be music to the ears of the United faithful, who would be acquiring a player with respect for the club’s rich history.
Ighalo can handle the physical Premier League
While certain recent acquisitions like Angel Di Maria and Matteo Darmian have struggled somewhat to cope with English football’s physicality, the same cannot be said for the Hornets hitman.
Standing at 6’2” and possessing a real robustness, Ighalo has mixed it with the country’s toughest defenders ever since his 2014 arrival in Hertfordshire.
Able to hold the ball up well, but also possessing serious pace, he could add steel to a United side somewhat lacking in toughness, while retaining the ability to keep up with quick – and quick-thinking – forwards like Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.
United need some inspiration up front
It isn’t for the want of spending, but Manchester United have been unusually lacklustre in attacking throughout this campaign.
The Reds have notched just 39 strikes in 32 Premier League games and are on course for easily their lowest ever goal tally. The lowest scorers in the top eight, United are desperate for a proven hitman who can reach double figures in the league. Ighalo, clearly, fits the bill.
They wouldn’t have to break the bank
While Ighalo’s market value has rocketed during his time at Vicarage Road, compared to some of Louis van Gaal’s big-money signings, he could still be something of a bargain.
Valued at £9m by Transfermarkt, any deal of that value which could bring the Red Devils 14 goals next season would surely be money well spent for the north-west giants.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.