During an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Odion Ighalo has revealed why he was forced to leave Manchester United.
Eyebrows were raised when Ighalo signed for Man United, but the club found themselves in need of a centre-forward, and he had previously demonstrated his ability to find the back of the net in the Premier League with Watford.
The Nigerian was a worthwhile stop-gap acquisition from the Red Devils, but he was never going to be the man to lead their line going forward, hence why he signed for Saudi side Al Shabab at the start of February.
Ighalo, speaking exclusively to Sky Sports, has now provided some insight into why he made the decision to leave Man United midseason, thus cutting short what was by some distance the biggest move of his career.
“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.”
The Nigerian, during his interview with Sky Sports, added that he had offers to remain in the Premier League, but felt as though his work in England was done after playing for United.
“There was the possibility of West Ham and West Brom to stay in the Premier League, which I thought about.”
“But after being at Manchester United, the biggest club in England if not the world, what else could I possibly do in the Premier League?”
“I had good offers to stay in England, but I just didn’t think I could stay after achieving my dream of playing for the club I had supported since I was young.”
Naturally, he saw Al Shabab as the perfect next step for his career – or rather, his bank balance.