Odion Ighalo’s agent, Patrick Bastianelli, has confirmed that Manchester United expressed an interest in the Nigerian striker over the past year.
The 27-year-old, who joined Watford back in 2014, netted 17 goals last season, helping the Hornets to a very respectable 13 place finish under Quique Sánchez Flores.
Such a fruitful season led to speculation surrounding a potential move to bigger clubs, with Chelsea and Liverpool amongst those reportedly interested.
And according to Bastianelli, Man United also registered their interest in the striker.
“Over the past two years he has been on a great run with a total of 36 goals,” he said.
“In January it may be difficult to go away, Watford and the Pozzo family has excellent relations with Napoli, but it will be difficult to sell in the winter market.
“The last year he has also been wanted by Chelsea and Manchester United, but Watford had not even sat down to deal with then.
“We’re talking about a guy who is part of the Nigerian national team. In football anything can happen, we’ll see.”
United’s interest in Ighalo most likely dates back to the Louis van Gaal era. The Nigerian is, after all, renowned for his stellar hold-up play and aptitude for linking up with surrounding forwards – two aspects the Dutchman favours in a striker above anything else.
But one imagines that, upon his arrival, Mourinho threw any existing transfer agenda in the bin, and instead set about signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic instead. Now, Ighalo is unquestionably talented, and has posed serious issues for the Premier League’s elite in recent times, but the Swede’s presence emboldens United’s front-line in a way that very few strikers in the world could replicate.