Odion Ighalo’s move to Manchester United could yet be made permanent according to noted transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano.
Ighalo, 30, joined the Red Devils on loan from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season but the deal that took him to Old Trafford had no provisions for a permanent move.
The reason it has now been revealed was that United, who were in a race against time to complete the deal as the transfer deadline loomed, ran out of time to negotiate a possible permanent switch for Ighalo.
The deal was eventually completed just one hour to the close of the window.
According to quotes attributed to Romano, the transfer could have fallen through if negotiations about a permanent switch had taken place because of a lack of time.
The Italian journalist, however, said both sides “unofficially” agreed to resume talks on a permanent switch later this week.
Ighalo in his first-ever interview with United since his signing explained how both sides raced to complete the deal before the deadline and also confirmed that he rejected other clubs and accepted a salary cut to make the deal happen.
“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,” he told the club’s website.
“‘My agent wants to speak to you. United are coming for me, you have to make this happen.'”
The former Super Eagles striker didn’t sleep as his agent and the clubs spent the night negotiating and signing paperwork to get it through before the deadline at 7am Shanghai time.
“I told my agent ‘this is what I want. I want to come here’,” added Ighalo.
“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.'”
The lifelong fan, Ighalo will wear the number 25 shirt while at Manchester United and the striker is in no doubts about the qualities he would be adding to the Ole Gunnar Solkjaer’s squad.
“I’m very fast, I’m skilful, I’m strong, I have good techniques, so I can find my way in the field of play,” he said.
“They have a striker that stays mostly in the middle, but Martial likes to come from the side, even Rashford, so you need someone in the middle that can keep the ball, hold the ball.
“They need a physicality up front to keep the ball, to give and to make some movement, which I believe if everything goes well I can add to the team.”
Perhaps, fans of the Red Devils will get to witness those qualities for even longer than the initial six-month period if his stay at Old Trafford is made permanent.
Ighalo who is currently on a winter break in Spain with the rest of United’s first team could be set to make his debut when the Red Devils take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 17 February.