Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo can have a similar impact to that of Henrik Larsson, claims former Red Devils defender Rio Ferdinand. Ighalo signed for United in January, joining on a six-month loan deal from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua. The Nigeria international has scored four goals in his first eight appearances and United are reportedly set to try and sign him permanently this summer.
Larsson made a similar move to United in 2007, when he joined on a two-month loan from Helsingborg.
The Swede scored just three goals in 13 appearances but made a huge impact on those at the club and was awarded a Premier League winners’ medal at the end of the season.
Ferdinand was at United at the time and can see similarities with Ighalo’s transfer.
The ex-England captain says attacking trio Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James will benefit and learn from Ighalo being at the club, just how the likes of Wayne Rooney and Louis Saha did with Larsson 13 years ago.
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And Ferdinand has backed United to make a deal permanent for the 30-year-old.
Ferdinand said on Instagram Live: “I think he’s warranted the opportunity now to come in as a full-time player.
“And what he gives Manchester United, which they didn’t have, is someone you can pass the ball into and can hold it up, he’s got a physical presence, he can hold off a defender or two and lay the ball in for someone else to score.
“When you see Rashford when he’s fit, I think he will appreciate playing with someone like this.
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“He can have the impact on the Rashfords and the Martials and the Dan James’ that someone like Henrik Larsson can have on the likes of Rooney, Saha etc.
“That experience and he’s got that little bit of difference that’s different to someone else where you go ‘actually I’ll take that little element from his game and I’ll learn from that, I’ll add that to my game’.
“I think he’s got something that’s different to all the other guys in the team, which is good, you need that little bit of difference sometimes.
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“I’m not saying to start him, I’m saying to sign him so that he’s something different if it’s not going our way in a game sometimes.
“He can be a great player for the cup games and he’s also good off the bench.
“He’s affected games every time he’s come on the pitch, that’s what I like.”
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