Gary Neville: What I really think of Man United’s January signings
Gary Neville explains how he feels about Man United's decision to sign Odion Ighalo in the January transfer window
Gary Neville has admitted that he was surprised by Manchester United’s decision to sign Odion Ighalo in the January transfer window.
The 30-year-old striker completed a move to Old Trafford last month on loan from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season.
The forward made his first Premier League appearance for the Red Devils when he came off the bench to play the final minute of Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.
Ighalo was brought in by Manchester United to add cover up front after Marcus Rashford was ruled out for a number of weeks with a back injury.
The Red Devils also signed Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon as they bolstered their midfield options ahead of the final few months of the campaign.
Asked if Manchester United’s summer transfer business surprised him, Neville replied: “The Fernandes [signing] not so much because they’ve been linked for a long time.
“I think United would have liked to have it done earlier in the window but when United come knocking teams know how desperate they are to get the deal done.
“Once they got him it was fine. I thought he did okay against Wolves, he switched positions in the second half, sat deeper and I thought it suited him more.
“Ighalo is the one that shocked everybody. We knew United were scrambling around because of the injury to [Marcus] Rashford.
“Why they’re scrambling around when they’ve known that [Alexis] Sanchez and [Romelu] Lukaku were leaving in the summer is beyond me.
“It still baffles me a little bit that a club can’t be smarter in the transfer market.
“That’s what we’ve come to expect from United at this moment in time. It’s not going to get any better it doesn’t seem.
“Ighalo, I liked him at Watford. What happens with him will have a big impact on the rest of the season.
“If he does succeed, people at United will gain confidence and the fans will love him.
“If he doesn’t do well, then it’ll reflect the club’s current recruitment strategy.
“When people said Ighalo at the end of the transfer window it was a massive shock. It was like ‘Where did that come from?’
“There’s a massive risk attached to this signing but they did need someone in.
“With Rashford injured, Sanchez and Lukaku gone they’ve got a shortage up there.”
Manchester United’s win over Chelsea FC on Monday night hoisted them up into seventh place in the table and left them just three points behind Chelsea FC in the race for Champions League qualification.
Next up for the Red Devils is a trip to face Club Brugge in the Europa League last 32 on Thursday night.