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Opinion

Dubious comparisons between Manchester United signing and former Newcastle United star

2 weeks ago
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As the January 2020 transfer window came to a close, Manchester United were desperate to add more goals to their squad.

The surprise signing just before it slammed shut was Odion Ighalo.

The 30 year old striker signed on loan from Shanghai Shenhua, the transfer aided by the fact that the start of the Chinese Super League was suspended indefinitely, instead of the scheduled 22 February 2020 kick-off.

Speaking about the signing, Darren Bent has now claimed Ighalo ‘has been absolutely brilliant’ for Manchester United.

He has also claimed that the striker reminds him of Papiss Cisse when he was at Newcastle United.

Dubious claims though really, considering Ighalo has failed to score in his four brief Premier League appearances for Manchester United. Whilst the four he has scored, were against weak opposition in matches where Manchester United hammered teams in the FA Cup and Europa League – 5-0 against both LASK and Brugge, plus 3-0 against Derby.

Papiss Cisse made his name at Newcastle scoring for fun in the Premier League and I don’t remember Darren Bent raving about Ighalo in his time in the Premier League, scoring 16 goals in 55 PL games for Watford. He did have one decent season scoring 15 in 2015/16, typically scoring three of them against Newcastle as Watford won 2-1 in both Premier League matches that season.

For Watford, I remember Ighalo scoring a lot of goals due to feeding off the more physical Troy Deeney, rather than scoring the kind of spectacular goals Papiss Cisse tended to score for Newcastle.

Papiss Cisse meanwhile turns 35 in June but is still scoring for fun with Alanyaspor in Turkey, 16 goals this season in 22 league starts. Turkey’ league season is continuing but with games behind closed doors.

Darren Bent speaking to Talksport;

“He [Odion Ighalo] is holding up the ball really well, scoring goals and very much reminds me of the Ighalo we saw at Watford, when he had that season where he was fantastic, scoring between 15 and 20 and it looks like he’s got that confidence back.

“He might go a chunk of games without scoring goals but once he finds the back of the net, he just goes on a roll.

“He kind of reminds me of Papiss Cisse [at Newcastle United]..

“He had that season where he came in and scored goals and everything, he hit like the one at Chelsea…shouldn’t go in, but it flies into the corner.”

“I know a lot of people question the signing but I was always one that said it does make a little bit of sense.

“Manchester United didn’t get hold of anybody else and he was willing to come there and take a pay cut from what he was earning [in China].

“He has got pedigree in the Premier League, he has been up to speed and has been absolutely brilliant.

“Whether they will keep him beyond this season?

“I can’t see it, but at the minute, he’s been absolutely fantastic.

“Everything has gone well for Ighalo and Manchester United have not had to pay much money for him.

“He has spoken about how much he loves Manchester United, a shining light and someone they needed.”

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