Gary Neville has revealed he was shocked by Manchester United’s decision to sign Odion Ighalo in the January transfer window and predicted that the club’s hiring strategy doesn’t look like changing.
United turned to the Nigerian striker after Marcus Rashford was ruled out for three months with a back problem. The England striker has been in terrific form this season, netting a career best of 19 goals to date, and has left a big hole in United’s attack.
Anthony Martial has struggled to lead United’s attack on his own so Ighalo should provide so much needed assistance. However, the 30-year-old’s last season in the Premier League saw him score one goal in 18 appearances for Watford and his arrival came as a shock to many fans.
Asked if he was surprised by United’s January transfer business ahead of the Chelsea fixture, Neville told Sky Sports : “The Fernandes [signing] not so much because they’ve been linked for a long time.
“I think United would have liked to have it done earlier in the window but when United come knocking teams know how desperate they are to get the deal done.
“Once they got him it was fine. I thought he did okay against Wolves, he switched positions in the second half, sat deeper and I thought it suited him more.
“Ighalo is the one that shocked everybody. We knew United were scrambling around because of the injury to [Marcus] Rashford.
“Why they’re scrambling around when they’ve known that [Alexis] Sanchez and [Romelu] Lukaku were leaving in the summer is beyond me.
“It still baffles me a little bit that a club can’t be smarter in the transfer market.
“That’s what we’ve come to expect from United at this moment in time. It’s not going to get any better it doesn’t seem.
“Ighalo, I liked him at Watford. What happens with him will have a big impact on the rest of the season.
“If he does succeed, people at United will gain confidence and the fans will love him.
“If he doesn’t do well, then it’ll reflect the club’s current recruitment strategy.
“When people said Ighalo at the end of the transfer window it was a massive shock. It was like ‘Where did that come from?’
“There’s a massive risk attached to this signing but they did need someone in.
“With Rashford injured, Sanchez and Lukaku gone they’ve got a shortage up there.”
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