Manchester United fans have found a new cult-favourite at Old Trafford in Odion Ighalo.
The Nigerian forward was a desperate loan signing from Shanghai Shenhua in the final hours of the January transfer window after a frantic search for a striker.
Ighalo has scored four goals in 8 Premier League appearances for the Reds, and adhered himself to supporters with his love for his boyhood club.
In reality, the loan transfer of a 30-year-old former Watford striker couldn’t have gone much better for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But Ighalo was not the only player United looked at during their search for a back-up forward. It has been revealed that former Newcastle striker Solomon Rondon also came close to an unlikely move to Manchester.
Rondon also plays in China for Rafa Benitez managed Dalian Professional, and has revealed a switch to United was blocked as his owners did not want to sell.
“The chance was very close to come back to England,” Rondon said, as quoted by the Mirror.
“The owner of my club said that they paid a lot for me, he wanted me to stay and didn’t want to let me go. He said: ‘It’s not in our minds to let you go.’
“I talked to Rafa and then they chose another player, it finished and I didn’t have any chance to go.
I stayed and I take that experience with me in my life, in my career and I have to wait because I’ve signed for two years and if I stay for two years it doesn’t matter for me.
“My agents didn’t say too much. They said they’d call me if they had some news but the opportunity to go was really, really close and the decisions are with the owners.
United really were scraping the barrel in the final days of the January window as they looked to provide Solskjaer with a player that could provide adequate back-up for Anthony Martial in the forward line.
Rondon would have represented a much different option than Ighalo with his more imposing presence in the box.
But the Reds have been lucky to stumble upon Ighalo and it remains to be seen whether his contract will be extended beyond his short-term loan which is due to expire shortly.