After the end of the Chinese Super League (CSL) and Changchun Yatai being relegated, Odion Ighalo, the Nigerian forward, has decided he doesn’t want to play in the Chinese Second Division. He has instructed his agent to look for a new team and there is interest from the CSL and the English Premier League.
This past season, Ighalo has scored 21 goals in 28 appearances for his team but couldn’t help them stay up. The season before that, he scored 15 goals in 27 matches. He was the eighth-best scorer in the CSL for the 2017/18 season only to improve this season and finish as the second-best scorer for the 2018/19 season. So, he won’t be short of suitors in the coming winter transfer market.
Before going to China, he played for the Premiership side Watford for three years, appearing in 99 games and scoring 39 goals in all competitions. He helped Watford win promotion in his first year there, with 20 goals. He scored 17 in the season after that but, in his last year with the Hornets, he only found the net two times.
Before that, he played for Udinese but was mostly out on loan to Granada in his years there.
Internationally, he’s played for the Nigerian U-20 team before making it to the Super Eagles squad. He has 25 caps so far and was part of the team which went to the World Cup in Russia in the summer. He has scored 10 goals, including the four in the Libya doubleheader in October. Before scoring a hat trick against Libya, he was the subject of some controversy because of death threats he and his family received.
Still, he was integral in getting Nigeria to the top of their qualifying group. But he was injured in the second game with Libya and couldn’t feature against South Africa. He also missed the last round of the CSL league championship.
His injury has now healed and Ighalo is back in training. He is reported to working hard to get his fitness levels back up. His agent Atta Aneke is collecting offers and Ighalo will decide where he will play next after this latest break. At the moment, he is in Africa with his family, where he will celebrate Thanksgiving before making any decisions.
He has also been honoured by the NFF and nominated for the African Player of the Year award which, if he wins it, he will receive at the NFF annual Awards Gala in January.