Man Utd beating Derby in FA Cup clash shows signing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must make

Back in January, Manchester United raised eyebrows across the footballing community. Not for the signing of Bruno Fernandes, who enjoyed another good game against Derby on Thursday night. But nobody could quite understand why Odion Ighalo had been lured to Old Trafford as well.

More than a month on from United’s shock move for Ighalo, though, the Nigeria international is silencing his critics.

And his goals and performance in the club’s 3-0 FA Cup win over Derby on Thursday night suggests he’s a striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should now consider signing on a permanent basis.

United want a new No 9 when the transfer window reopens this summer.

RB Leipzig star Timo Werner is under consideration behind the scenes at Old Trafford having hit 21 goals from 24 games this season.

Another player liked by United is Moussa Dembele, who has been terrifying Ligue 1 defences with Lyon.

And Erling Haaland remains linked even though he only joined Borussia Dortmund back in January.

But while United will certainly look to reinforce in that area, Ighalo is proving himself to be worth a punt.]

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Not just because of his goals – Thursday’s game saw him take his tally to three with a fine striker’s finish against Derby.

But because he’s a player who has failed to let United down and looks deserving to be at Old Trafford.

Had United signed Ighalo in 2015, when they first thought about moving for the Nigeria international, nobody would have been surprised.

He’d been terrifying opposition defences with Watford, bagging 20 goals from 38 appearances in his first season at Vicarage Road.

And, even in a more difficult second campaign in Hertfordshire, he still found the net 17 times.

When he left the Premier League for China, Ighalo continued to shine.


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He left Changchun Yatai having struck 36 times in 55 appearances for the Chinese Super League side.

And, at Shanghai Shenhua, he’d scored 10 goals from 19 matches before his surprising switch to the Theatre of Dreams.

Ighalo has always scored goals throughout his career.

And he’s now doing the same at United, having bagged three from six matches since his shock loan arrival.

That, certainly, is impressive.

In a day and age where goalscorers cost a premium, Ighalo is proving himself to be a loan fee well spent.

Solskjaer himself sees to know it. Speaking before the game, he refused to rule out a permanent deal for the 30-year-old.

“It doesn’t hurt [living the dream] but he’s here on merit, he’s here because he is a goalscorer and a different type of striker for us,” he said.

“We might get to the summer and think we want to extend this, who knows?

“He’s come in as a breath of fresh air as well.

“He had chances in his five minutes against Chelsea, he scored against Bruges, he had chances against Watford, he had a very good save [from a shot] against Everton – there have been good saves, he doesn’t miss the target very often.

“Even for Anthony (Martial), Mason (Greenwood) and Marcus (Rashford) to learn that it is where the sharks are swimming.

“It’s comfortable outside the box and you can have a few shots. It’s in there where it might be a bit tougher and you might get hurt – that’s where you get goals.”

Ighalo appears deserving of a place at United. And his stunning brace against Derby suggests his time at the club should not end up being temporary after all.

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