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Ighalo must be mobile to succeed at Man United, says Adelabu

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Odion Ighalo

‘I couldn’t sleep after deal scaled through’

Former Green Eagles winger Adegoke Adelabu has said that one of the things that would contribute to the success of Odion Ighalo at Manchester United is his ability to play free flow football.

The 30-year-old Nigeria striker joined Man United on loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Adelabu, a sports scientist said: “Ighalo has to be more mobile now. In terms of strength, he has it, but Ighalo must be able to realise that football at Manchester United is mass attack and mass defence. It is totally different from what he used to play for the national team. Ighalo usually waits for the ball to come to him any time he played for the Super Eagles. He must not try that style at Man United.

“We all know that Ighalo is more dangerous whenever the ball is ahead of him. But whenever Man United is defending, he must not be found wanting. Ighalo should be able to fall back quickly to help the defence. That is what I mean by mobility,” Adelabu stated.

Meanwhile, Ighalo says he was so desperate to join Manchester United that he took a pay cut to make the deal happen and did not sleep the night it was agreed.

Former Watford striker Ighalo says his mum cried at the news and there were parties in the street he grew up on.

“A few other clubs had shown interest, I said ‘please, just pick United, if it’s going to be possible’,” he said.

Speaking to the club website, he added: “At 11pm in Shanghai, my agent called me [to say] that United want to do the deal, so I woke up that night and started looking for a translator to go to the directors’ room and hit his door.

“My agent wants to speak to you, United are coming for me, you have to make this happen.”

Ighalo, his agent and the clubs spent the night negotiating and signing paperwork to get it through before the deadline at 07:00 Shanghai time.

Meanwhile, other clubs were calling asking Ighalo to sign for them.

“I told my agent that ‘this is what I want. I want to come here’,” added Ighalo.

“He said: ‘You’re going to get a pay-cut to go to United’.

“I said: ‘I don’t care. Make this deal happen. I want to go to United. I don’t care how much is the pay-cut, I know that, make it happen’.”

Ighalo says he has been a Manchester United fan since he was a child and is pleased to be able to make his dream of playing for the Old Trafford club a reality.

“I called my mum and she was happy, crying,” he said.

“I know many people used to say when they join a team, they say that they dream of playing for that team. Mine was not the case. I supported the team when I was young.

“People that know me, even back in Nigeria, and even when I was playing at Watford, my team-mates knew that I loved Manchester United, I support them.”


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