A former Red Devil has praised the Nigerian Odion Ighalo for the way he has utilized himself since becoming a member of the club on loan from Shanghai Shenhua.
Odion Ighalo has accomplished “pretty well” in his first three months on Manchester United’s books, in accordance with Andy Cole, who thinks the striker has “applied himself” admirably at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was determined to bring in an extra center-forward in January after losing top scorer Marcus Rashford to a back injury, with solely Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood left to call upon up the front heading into the 2nd half of the season.
A wide variety of high-profile potential targets have been linked with the Red Devils, however, they ended up turning to a man who had spent the last three years of his career in the Chinese Super League.
United announced the signing of Ighalo on deadline day, after agreeing on a loan deal with his parent club Shanghai Shenhua.
The 30-year-old enjoyed a profitable spell at Watford between 2014 and 2017 which left him with valuable Premier League experience and has picked up from where he left off since arriving in Manchester.
Ighalo has contributed 4 goals and one assist to United’s cause in his first eight appearances, despite usually being used as a substitute.
His last effort served as a reminder of his awesome finishing ability, as he volleyed home an unstoppable shot in a 5-0 away win in opposition to LASK in a last sixteen Europa League first-leg tie on March 12.
That fixture marked United’s last time out before the season was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and as matters stand, Ighalo is due to return to China in May.
However, it has been widely reported that the club will submit a £15 million ($19m) offer for the ex-Nigeria international in order to prolong his stay at Old Trafford, and Cole is amongst those to have been vastly impressed by the impact the forward has had in such a short space of time.
“I am really thrilled with him,” the ex-United frontman stated at some stage in a video call with Ighalo broadcast on MUTV.
“When you come to a club like Manchester United as a center-forward, everyone expects you to score straight away, but it takes a little bit of time.
“And like Odion stated himself, he wasn’t fit and was just coming in from pre-season in China.
“I think he has done incredibly well when he has been given the opportunity, he has applied himself absolutely well in the club and has scored 4 good goals, four center-forward goals, you can’t ask for much more.”
Ighalo described Cole as one of his “heroes” growing up, whilst opening up on how he studied the former England international’s movements in the remaining third when he played up top with Dwight Yorke at the Theatre of Dreams.
“I had a lot of soccer heroes. When I started out supporting Man Utd, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole have been my heroes,” he said.
“It is a wonderful privilege for me to play at Man Utd, the place great players like Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole have played.
“They were notable strikers and scored a lot of goals.
So I would watch their movements, the way they played, the way they created space for themselves, watching the way they met crosses behind defenders.
“I learned all of that and it has helped me a lot in my soccer career.”