Manchester United fans weren’t exactly delighted by the signing of Odion Ighalo on transfer deadline day in January, but Rio Ferdinand believes the Nigerian has certain characteristics that could prove useful as the club battle for a top-four finish. United were desperate to bring in a striker in the January window.
That was made even more apparent when Marcus Rashford went down injured with a back injury ruling him out for several months.
Anthony Martial has stepped up in recent weeks to provide goals while Mason Greenwood has also continued to impress.
Ultimately United ended up signing Ighalo in the final hours of the transfer window to add more firepower to Solskjaer’s attack.
The 30-year-old had to bide his time to earn his first start before being named in the starting line-up against Club Brugge on Thursday evening.
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And he got on the scoresheet in the 5-0 win, tapping in from a few yards after being picked out by Juan Mata.
Ferdinand admits Ighalo wouldn’t have been top of his wish list heading into the January transfer window, but has already seen positive signs that gives Solskjaer another option.
“If we all had the opportunity to buy someone at the beginning of the transfer window, would he have been top of our list? No,” Ferdinand said on his YouTube channel.
“But needs must and he’s in the building now so we’ve got to back him.
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“What I liked about him is he’s different to all the other strikers we’ve got.
“He’s someone you can play into, he’s got a physical presence and people can play into him knowing they’re going to get a pass back and they can make moves off of that.
“That’s something to look forward to for the likes of [Bruno] Fernandes playing into him, maybe Rashford when he’s back at some point, Martial playing into him and running.
“And he got a goal. [Juan] Mata – great assist – and where’s he scored the goal? In and around the six-yard box. That’s what you want from your No 9.
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“Not enough of those goals have been scored for Man United in recent years so long may that continue.”
Solskjaer this week did provide a positive update on Rashford’s injury, but added the England international won’t be rushed back.
The scan came back quite positive but we will give him the time he needs,” Solskjaer said.
“He’s desperate to come back, of course, but he won’t until he’s fully ready.”
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