Former Super Eagles and PSG defender, Godwin Okpara, has slammed Manchester United and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the lack of respect to Nigerian Odion Ighalo in recent times.
Okpara told brila.net that Manchester United did not treat the former Super Eagles player with honour as they extended his loan stint to keep him on the bench, saying that ‘it is also disrespect to all African players as a whole.
“Ighalo came into the club at a very difficult time and was able to help the team get the needed goals in matches he was called upon,” Okpara said.
“A foreigner, European or a Brazilian won’t be treated the way he is currently being treated,”
Despite the presence of Ighalo, United snapped free agent Edinson Cavani on deadline day, tying him down to a one-season contract with the option of an extra year.
The Uruguayan has 341 career goals to his name to date, 200 of which were scored during his time at Parc des Princes, and he’s also hit 51 in 116 appearances for his country at the international level.
PSG’s all-time record goalscorer will now be charged with helping the Red Devils bounce back from a poor start to the season while providing high-quality competition in the final third for Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Odion Ighalo, and Marcus Rashford.
Although, some observers see Cavani’s transfer as a blessing to Man United at this trying moment of the club.
After Anthony Martial moved into a centre forward role, Marcus Rashford settled in on the left side of the attack, and Daniel James arrived from Swansea City to occupy the right flank until the emergence of Mason Greenwood.
In January, United were scrambling to sign a back-up striker. Solskjaer wanted another body to rotate into his starting 11 and after a frustrating window, the club settled on Odion Ighalo.
The six-month loan deal was largely ridiculed. Ighalo’s only Premier League experience had come with Watford and he had not played in a top Europan league since he departed for China in 2017.
Despite this, the Nigerian proved hugely valuable. He stepped in for Martial in Europa League matches, scored goals in the FA Cup, and extended his stay until January 2021 to ensure United had support in the attack.
read also:PSG shock interest in Odion Ighalo
Nevertheless, while Ighalo has undoubtedly been useful at Old Trafford, it would be naive for the Reds to navigate an entire season with the Nigerian as their second-choice forward.
Where Manchester City have Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero and Chelsea have Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud and Timo Werner, United are relying on a 31-year-old former Watford striker to complement their frontline.
The disparity in quality between the starting and reserve options is illustrated by Solskjaer’s selection decisions.
In the latter stages of last season, he rarely rotated, pushing his players to the brink of exhaustion. He consistently waited to make his substitutions, understanding that whoever he brought in represented a drop in attacking threat.
United, then, need a second-choice striker of calibre, quality, and with a proven goalscoring record, someone who can perform in Martial’s stead throughout an arduous and unique season.
Cavani is now 33 years old and was not a regular starter for PSG last term following the arrival of Mauro Icardi and Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as the French club’s other key attacking pieces.