Bent fears Ighalo’s permanent deal could stall Greenwood’s Man United progress
• Nigerian star to take $7.3 million pay cut to stay with Red Devils
Former Tottenham Hotspur striker, Darren Bent, believes the progress of teenage striker Mason Greenwood could be hampered next season if Manchester United acquire Odion Ighalo on a permanent deal, reports allnigeriasoccer.com.
There was no option to buy in the deal taking the 2019 Africa Cup of top scorer to the Red Devils in the January transfer window, but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær hinted after the Europa League match against LASK that there’s a possibility of the Nigerian remaining at the club for the 2020-2021 season.
Given that Marcus Rashford is untouchable in United’s starting line-up, four players will be competing for the two remaining spots in attack next term if Ighalo extends his stay, with Greenwood last in the pecking order.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Bent said: “It might hamper him, maybe a little bit. As far as next season goes (If United keep Ighalo), they’ll have Rashford, Ighalo, Martial, Greenwood and James.
“That’s five and they never play a front two, it’s always a front three.
“So you’re going to have Ighalo down the middle, Rashford down the left, Martial really can’t play from the right, so you’ve got Dan James and Greenwood just sitting there.”
Since United confirmed the signing of Ighalo, Greenwood has started two out of a possible nine matches in all competitions.
Meanwhile, Yahoosports reports that Odion Ighalo is willing to take a pay cut of $7.3 million per season to sign for Man United on a permanent basis.
Ighalo, 30, joined Man United on loan from Shanghai Shenhua on deadline day in the January transfer window and has been a big hit already, scoring four goals in eight appearances in all competitions.
A report from the Sun states that Ighalo is keen to remain at Man United beyond this season and is willing to sign a contract, which would see him earn half the amount he currently does in the Chinese Super League.
Ighalo’s current contract in China runs out on Jan. 1, 2021 but given his impressive displays with four goals in four starts, his performances have stood out and given Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plenty of food for thought.
With Marcus Rashford nearing a return to fitness, Ighalo’s minutes may dwindle if he did stick around at United next season and beyond but he seems very happy to play a bit-part role and he’s done it exceptionally well. His incredible goal in the 5-0 Europa League win against LASK last Thursday showcased his ability and his hold up play gives United a completely different option to Anthony Martial and Rashford.
After the transfer was ridiculed by many in January, Odion Ighalo has certainly proved Solskjaer correct to take a chance on him as the former Watford star has slotted into life back in England seamlessly.
Aside from his play on the pitch, Ighalo’s impact off the pitch has been sensational with his teammates sharing their delight in his recent success and fans turning the Nigerian striker into a cult figure at Old Trafford.
Ighalo has spoken about his childhood growing up in Lagos, Nigeria and saving up his lunch money each week to pay to watch Man United games on TV each weekend. Now he’s starring on the screens he used to pay to watch.