BBC Sport pundit admits he’s baffled by Man United signing

Garth Crooks admits his surprise at seeing Man United make a move to sign Odion Ighalo on loan in January

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Photo: Screengrab)

Garth Crooks has admitted his surprise at Manchester United’s decision to sign Odion Ighalo on loan in the January transfer window.

The Red Devils moved to bring in the Nigerian to bolster their attacking options despite the 30-year-old having been plying his trade in China in recent seasons.

The forward has been playing for Shanghai Shenhua in recent months and he now moves to Old Trafford to try and help the Red Devils finish in the top four on a six-month loan deal.

Manchester United’s decision to let the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez leave the club last summer and not bring in any like-for-like replacements certainly raised some eyebrows.

And former Tottenham star Crooks has admitted to being very surprised by Manchester United’s move to bring in Ighalo at the end of the January transfer window.

Writing in his column for BBC Sport, Crooks said: “Who sells Romelu Lukaku and replaces him (if only in the short term) with Odion Ighalo? Manchester United it would appear.

“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sold the Belgium international to Inter Milan and now finds himself in the middle of a striker crisis having lost Marcus Rashford, his most valued goalscorer, to a rather unfortunate but avoidable back injury.

“Ighalo is a proven striker made very much in Solskjaer’s image. Professional, a team player and most importantly just happy to be at the club of his dreams. But the Nigerian is not in Lukaku’s class, even if he is only on loan.

“This latest signing comes at a time when United fans have become increasingly frustrated by their team’s lack of impact on the Premier League title race.

“They are playing second fiddle to their noisy but very successful neighbours City and having their noses rubbed in it by arch enemy Liverpool, who are running away with the title. It just doesn’t get any worse than that.

“Such extraordinary indifference by those who own the club to what is clearly a crisis as far as United fans are concerned is starting to grate.

“This perceived contempt by the owners to the concerns of fans has erupted into threatening behaviour towards executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, when in fact the Glazer family are to blame – and guess what? Solskjaer and Woodward have been left holding the baby.”

Ighalo could make his debut for Manchester United when the Red Devils return to Premier League action after their winter break with a trip to Chelsea FC on 17 February.

The Red Devils are currently in seventh place in the Premier League table as they chase Champions League qualification this season.

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