Football

Ighalo could have same impact as Cantona, says Bosnich

A former Red Devil has said that Odion Ighalo could become another Eric Cantona.

Mark Bosnich believes that Ighalo, 30, has nothing to lose at United and could even replicate the success of the French striker, who inspired United to their first title in 26 years, following his move from Leeds United in 1992.

This comes just days after pundits were slating Manchester United’s player recruitment, following the loan signing of the Nigerian international.

The former Watford striker sealed a last-gasp deadline day loan move to United from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua last Friday as cover for the injured Marcus Rashford.

Ighalo netted 39 goals across 2½ seasons at Vicarage Road, with 16 of those coming in the English Premier League.

“This was an emergency signing,” the 48-year-old Bosnich told Sky Sports on Monday (Feb 3).

“I can understand a lot of people taking about a scattergun approach, well it had to be with Rashford being out. The top four is still possible for United, they had to go and get somebody.

“The boy that’s come in (Ighalo) has got nothing to lose. Nobody expects anything unbelievable from him, but they definitely needed somebody in that position.

"You never know. A long, long time ago Manchester United signed a certain Frenchman (Cantona), who no one really expected much from and he ended up propelling them to one of their most successful seasons of all time.”

Former United defender Gary Neville, however, was unimpressed by the club’s lack of forward planning to sign a striker for the long term, especially after Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez left the club in the summer.

“With Ighalo, they just needed a body in that area, as Rashford will be out for another couple of months. I can’t let the club off the hook though, unfortunately,” Neville said.

“Lukaku told us a couple of weeks ago that he told the club he was going to leave last February, March, is nine months to be able to manoeuvre and sign a striker for the long term. They’ve ended up desperately doing one on transfer deadline day.

"Ighalo might well do very well, he might settle in and score goals and do a job for the club.

“The fact that they were in that position knowing that Sanchez and Lukaku were leaving for many months, shows that Manchester United are struggling to navigate through the transfer market smartly.”

Added former England striker Chris Sutton on BBC Radio 5: “(United manager) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made mistakes. A big mistake was letting Lukaku go and not replacing him.

“I do think Ole needs to be given time, but the fact that United let Lukaku go and then bring in Ighalo says to me that Ole got that one wrong.”

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