Odion Ighalo has revealed why he left his boyhood club Manchester United and turned down offers from West Brom and West Ham’s to stay in the Premier League.
The former Super Eagles of Nigeria captain joined Manchester United in January 2020 from Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua on an initial six-month loan.
His deal was later extended in June 2020 until January this year, when he left for Saudi Arabian side Al-Shabab after scoring five goals in 23 appearances for the Premier League club.
Speaking to Sky Sports about his departure, Ighalo says he is ‘so happy’ he was able to represent Manchester United but admits he left his dream club due to a lack of game time.
‘There wasn’t much possibility because I wanted more playing time. At my age, I want to play and not just sit on the bench and not have any minutes.
‘I didn’t just want to be there picking up a salary – I wanted to be involved so I said to my agent that if an offer comes in, I will look at it and see what’s best for me, which is what I did.
‘I’m so happy that my path crossed with Manchester United – it’s the club I love with all my heart and for all my life so playing for them was a big privilege that I do not take for granted.
‘No matter the circumstances that led me to leave, I will always be grateful to the coach, my team-mates, the fans, and everyone around Manchester United. After my initial loan was extended, I did not play much which was perhaps a bit unfair but as I said, I am always grateful for the opportunity.’