Odion Ighalo took pay cut to make his dream Manchester United move a reality

On-loan striker says there has been huge excitement among his family and friends in Nigeria about signing for Old Trafford club

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Africa Cup of Nations 2019 - Third Place Play Off - Tunisia v Nigeria - Al Salam Stadium, Cairo, Egypt - July 17, 2019  Nigeria's Odion Ighalo celebrates scoring their first goal    REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham/File Photo
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Lifelong Manchester United fan Odion Ighalo said he had no hesitation in taking a pay cut to complete his dream deadline-day switch to Old Trafford.

United were already short in attack following the summer departures of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku and a back injury sustained by Marcus Rashford, making a new striker a priority in the January transfer window.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked at a variety of options and eventually completed a late loan deal for ex-Watford striker Ighalo, who has joined until the end of the season from Shanghai Shenhua.

"I'm very happy," the Nigeria forward said. "First, I want say thank God for making this happen and it's just like a dream come true for me.

"People that know me, even back in Nigeria, and even when I was playing at Watford, my team-mates knew that I loved Man United, I support them. When I played against Man U, that emotion is there, because it is my dream.

"It is a nice reality, so I'm very happy and I'm looking forward to start."

Ighalo, 30, followed Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes into Old Trafford, with the forward calling his last-minute move "very dramatic", having been informed by his agent the day before of United's interest.

"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," he said. "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."

Ighalo, who will be the first Nigerian to play for Manchester United, said there had been huge excitement among his family and friends.

"It was crazy because, all over the news for the last few days, is about my deal to Man United," he said. "Even the street I grew up on, they are doing parties, celebrating Ighalo signing for United."

Solskjaer's side are currently seventh in the Premier League table, with United a huge 38 points behind runaway leaders and arch-rivals Liverpool.

Picture gallery: deadline day signings