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Odion Ighalo explains Manchester United shirt number and says he took pay cut to join club

Odion Ighalo

Odion Ighalo has revealed that he took a pay cut to join Manchester United.

The Red Devils completed the surprise loan signing of the striker from Shanghai Shenhua last week.

Ighalo will spend the rest of the season at Old Trafford as cover for the injured Marcus Rashford.

And the Nigeria international says he will be paid less at United than he was in China.

"Yeah, it was very dramatic. My agent called me the day before and said Man United. I would love to go," he told MUTV .

"A few other clubs had shown interest, I said please, just pick United, if it’s going to be possible.

"At 11pm in Shanghai, my agent called me [to say] that United want to do the deal, so I woke up that night and started looking for a translator to go to the directors' room and hit his door and all that. I said: 'My agent wants to speak to you, United are coming for me, you have to make this happen'.

"So, from 11pm, there was paperwork, negotiating and all that, for the loan deal and all that, so we are talking and other teams are calling them, wanting me, but I told my agent that this is what I want. I want to come here. He said you’re going to get a pay cut to go to United. I said: I don’t care. Make this deal happen. I want to go to United. I don’t care how much is the pay-cut, I know that, make it happen'.

"So the director and everybody didn’t know what to say anymore, because I had already made up my mind, so my agent started putting it in order, and, at 5am, we finished.

"My agent said he’d forwarded all the papers to United, they will confirm for me if everything is okay. I think, around 5-6am, he said everything is okay, it’s done.

"I was excited. I called my mum and she was happy and crying. This is your dream and all that and I’m happy for you. It was dramatic, I didn’t sleep through, I was very happy that finally, we got the deal done.”

Ighalo also opened up on his decision to wear the No.25 shirt - previously held by Antonio Valencia - at United.

The number has also been worn in the Premier League by fellow Nigerians Kanu and Wilfred Ndidi.

"Well, I think that number and No.19 were available," he added.

"When I was at Watford I wore the No.24 and it was not available. In Shanghai I had No.9 and that was not available.

"I said to myself that 24 plus one is 25, so I said 'okay let me go with the No.25 instead of 19'.

"I said No.25 is good even though I didn't get the number I was looking for. No.25 is a perfect number. One above what I wore before when I was in the Premier League."


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