Former Nigeria international Odion Ighalo would have to make up his mind if he likes to continue chasing his dream at Manchester United or he would return to China to rejoin his team Shanghai Shenhua.
The Chinese big spenders are offering Ighalo a new bumper £400,000 (about N180m) per week deal, Sky Sports reported Thursday.
It is also understood that United are mulling a permanent deal once the Nigerian striker’s original six-month loan deal expires.
Ighalo’s current contract expires in December 2022 and Shanghai want to keep him until December 2024.
The new £400,000 a week before tax offer will among other things make Ighalo Africa’s top earner but whether the Nigerian would end his United dream for a fat pay check in the far East remains to be seen.
During Ighalo’s first breakout season in the Premier League with Watford in 2016, he was in a similar position where he was tempted with a lucrative offer by another Chinese club, Hebei China Fortune.
Though Ighalo turned down the offer then, he admitted that he had sleepless nights as he weighed the pros and cons of the massive deal.
“I was very close. They made a £10m bid and were offering me over £200,000 a week; a four-year contract. I couldn’t sleep for three days,” Odion Ighalo told the Daily Mail UK.
“That kind of money is not easy to turn down. Some teammates in the dressing room were saying, “You can’t miss this chance”. But I don’t jump into decisions like that.
“I knew God would direct me. When I said I don’t want to go, they offered me more money, almost £300,000 a week. I told them it’s not about the money.”
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Ighalo has always said it has been a dream playing for United, the club he supported as a boy and his impact with the Red Devils has been both instant and impressive.
Before a ball had even been kicked, the 30-year-old’s infectious application drew admiration from his team-mates and manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who knew at the very least he had made a valuable addition to his squad.
“The best thing about him is his personality,” the United boss remarked. And when the time eventually came for Ighalo on the pitch, he proved he had the aptitude to match his first-class attitude.
Just as he looked to have really settled into his groove, the coronavirus outbreak limited Ighalo to just eight United appearances, but in that handful of games he more than left his mark.