Five Players that can replace Ighalo

The Nigerian forward may not stay beyond January and we would need to replace him...

Odion Ighalo has been a revelation since he joined Manchester United on loan in January from Chinese club Shanghai Shenua and the prolific Nigerian forward has won the hearts of all Manchester United fans both on and off the field. The Red Devils did extend the former-Watford marksman's loan until January 2021 last month but may have to part ways with him as Shanghai have no interest in selling him.

We take a look at some players who may be able to replace the Nigerian in his backup striker role at United…

1. RAUL JIMENEZ 

Raul Jimenez has established himself as one of the best striker in the Premier League and has helped Wolverhampton to consecutive 7th place finishes over the span of two years. The Mexican has a keen eye for goal and has combined with Diogo Jota and Adama Traore on multiple occasions to help Nuno Esperito Santo’s team’s cause. He can become a worthy backup to Anthony Martial, keeping him on his toes and always ready to make an impact off the bench something which was our current manager’s MO.

There is however a slight concern over the style of play and whether he will be able to fit in... Wolves predominantly like to stretch opponents to the wings and then fire crosses into the box – mostly at Jimenez and United predominantly look to play a patient game looking for a good final ball before finishing. According to me he will be able to adapt to this as he is as good with his feet as he is in the air and has a really good work-rate. Somthing the boss has been trying and succeeding to re-introduce into the squad. 

Jimenez is already a proven commodity in the Premier League and unlike many others on this list, wouldn’t have to adjust to a new country. His goals involvement is exceptionally good in the Premier League and is almost at par with Anthony Martial. He scored 17 goals in the league this season. I think will be able to adapt and compete healthily with Martial. 

With The Red Devils having secured Champions League football, it may prove to be the catalyst for finally bringing him to the Theatre of Dreams after having being linked with him for the past 3 transfer windows. He would be the fairy tale signing but wouldn’t come cheap and with depleted funds due to the Corona-virus United will have to free up funds to land the Mexican who could very well follow in the footsteps of club favourite Chicharito...

 

Raul Jimenez's stats are exceptionally good for the Premier League and Champions League football should lure him to the Theatre Of Dreams

2. 2. ODSONNE EDOUARD

The Frenchman who plies his trade in the Scottish League for reigning-champions Celetic has been an emerging forward who has been making his name as a ruthless finisher would be a perfect fit for Ole Gunnar’s rebuild and would be amore than capable deputy to fellow Frenchman, Anthony Martial. He is actually quite similar to him in terms of style as he likes to link up play and is very quick. He still has a lot to learn and Manchester United may be the perfect place for him to advance his career as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has repeatedly placed his faith in young developing talent who are not quite the finished product, building a team the ‘United Way’. His stats are a joke.. He scores a goal every 60 minutes and was the Golden Boot winner in the Scottish Premier League last year with 22 goals to his name.

He however plays in the Scottish Division which is not as challenging as the Premier League and will have to adapt to the physicality and gruelling nature of the world’s toughest league in my opinion. Regardless, he would be a great signing if Ed Woodward brings it through and won’t cost a lot – probably in the region of £30m-£40m.

 

Edouard's stats show why he is a defender's worst nightmare

 3. JOSHUA KING

A United Academy product, he knows the club well and it would be an interesting re-union considering that his club Bournemouth were relegated and he didn’t have his best season. Regardless the Norwegian’s ability is never in doubt and he has the presence of mind to create something out of nothing. Joshua King is a fairly technical player who will come deep to get the ball and will make good runs but doesn’t necessarily have qualities that would make someone a great striker.

He is highly intelligent, knows when to pass and when to shoot and is good in the air. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously worked with his fellow Norwegian back when he was the reserves manager and holds him in very high regard. He could be very useful in the Cup competitions and as a substitute (A Norwegian coming on late and scoring the winning goal would be tradition that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would like to continue) .

He is no stranger to the Premier League and had formed a good partnership with Callum Wilson. This season he played predominantly cutting in from the left hand side but can play in the striker position. With the Cherries relegated, he will be looking to stay in the English top-flight following in the footsteps of Nathan Ake who signed for United’s local rivals Manchester City and will be available cheaply. The Red Devils even tried to sign him on Deadline Day this January but talks broke down and  Odion Ighalo was announced shortly afterwards so it would be poetic if he were to replace him…

 

His stats may not be that good this season, but his quality is never in doubt...

4.   4. OLLIE WATKINS

Here's my wild card - Ollie Watkins. The Brentford forward who used to play on the left suddenly found himself at the centre of Brentford's attack after Neil Maupay's departure to Brighton and Hove Albion and he did not disappoint. He is young - only 22 and has what it takes to be good in the Premier League. He almost helped Brenford to the English top tier after their resurgence since the resumption of football post-lock down, but they went down to Fullham in the Championship payoff final. Regardless , he ended as the top scorer in England's second tier and sky is the limit for as far as he can develop. 

He is an energetic forward with blistering pace ( What's with Championship players being so fast??) who likes to beat the defenders repeatedly. He may have to develop physically but he should be an absolute steal for United and should not cost more than £15m - £20m. He would be a very good option from the bench as he can run at tiring defences all day and is more versatile and can also play on the wings. 

The Championship's top scorer was a nuisance for defenders to deal with this season after a shift in position

5. MOUSSA DEMBELE

I almost went for Edinson Cavani on this one but he seems to be off to Benfica. So, Moussa Dembele it is. The Frenchman has been the centre point of Lyon's attack and has been a major reason along with ex-Red Memphis Depay that Lyon are in the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League this season. He is no stranger to the Premier League having in fact made his debut there for Fulham. Having missed out on European Football due to the abrupt end of Ligue 1 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, leaving them 7th in the league, the prospect of Champions League football should be enough to lure him to the Theatre of Dreams.

He is a striker with a proven track record of scoring, having scored 15 goals in a season for the last five years for Celtic and Lyon. He is amazingly quick, possesses great physical strength and knows how to play with his back to goal making him the ideal replacement for Ighalo due to their similar styles and may even be a better option than the Nigerian. He wont come cheap though as Lyon would demand something in the region of £50 million for their star striker....

16 goals rank him 3rd in the French League only behind Mbappe and Ben Yedder. Surely should be playing Champions League football??

VERDICT

If Shanghai decide they want Odion Ighalo back we should be looking at these options. Personally I would like Raul Jimenez at United but I know this may not be possible so we should seriously look towards Odsonne Edouard.

 Also if we do sign Jadon Sancho we could play Mason Greenwood in his preferred striker position in a sort of super-sub role, something that he thrives on as he has shown this season time and time again. If we do get any of these players, United's front-line will probably be the most dangerous in the world and I cannot wait to see who we can bring for next season....


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