Former Arsenal forward Paul Merson has backed Nigerian, Odion Ighalo to remain at Manchester United beyond the season despite talks of a return to parent club Shanghai Shenhua, AOIFootball.com reports.
The former England international, who was full of praises for the United winter acquisition stated that he doubts if Ighalo would want to return to China in the summer and was quick to also note that he was right not to praise or criticize the Nigerian before his move last January.
“When Odion Ighalo arrived at Manchester United in January, I didn’t really want to get involved in any conversations about him because, either way, there was a danger of being made to look silly.
“If you said he was going to be awful he could embarrass you badly by performing like he did during that brilliant year he had with Watford or if you said he was going to be a good signing, he could still be the player who put in some awful showings just before he left Watford. I didn’t want to get involved in that because it was a no-win situation.
“However, what I can say now is that he’s been absolutely outstanding since he arrived at Old Trafford.
“I know he hasn’t played a lot of football but when he’s come off the bench and when he has got some game time, he’s looked class. It’s a hard decision Manchester United have to make regarding his future because if you give him a contract, can he perform again that next season?
”When you go to a club on loan you’ve got that hunger of wanting to secure a permanent move, prove everybody inside the club right and everybody outside the club wrong. All of a sudden, you give someone a contract and they think they’ve done all the hard work.
“You’ve only got to look at his time at Watford. He looked a world-beater but then next minute he couldn’t score a goal for toffee. But if you are going on the form he’s showed since coming to the club in January it’s going to be hard to get rid of him,” Merson stated.
He further added that despite the mouthwatering 400,000 a week offer from China he believes the Nigerian wants to remain at Old Trafford and has done everything right since his arrival.
“And don’t worry about the new mega-money offers in China. He’s said all the right things since joining Manchester United. He’s turned around enough times and said he’s dreamed of playing for United so if they do offer him a permanent deal, I can’t see him turning it down.
“Everything’s gone right for him so far and if United do offer him a chance to stay, I’d be shocked if he walked away,” he concluded.
The former Granada and Watford striker has been a share joy to watch since his arrival at Old Trafford, scoring 4 times in 3 starts and also clinched the club’s goal of the month gong after his spectacular goal against LASk in the Europa League.