Odion Ighalo was happy to take a pay cut to help push through a deadline day move to Manchester United.

Nigeria striker Ighalo joined United on loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season on Friday, returning to the Premier League where he spent a previous spell with Watford.

Although United's interest in Ighalo came late, the player insists he had no hesitation in temporarily ending a lucrative spell in China to join a club he has always admired.

He told MUTV: "From 11pm there was paperwork, negotiating and all that, for the loan deal, so we are talking and other teams are calling them, wanting me. 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 is likely to get the chance to impress at Old Trafford with a lack of attacking options exacerbated by an injury to Marcus Rashford.

He added: "I’m very happy. 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.

"When we were young in Nigeria, we used to watch the Premier League when the likes of Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke played...

"People supported Manchester United a lot so I developed a love because all my siblings are Man Utd fans.

"I never thought this [move] was going to happen but dreams come true. I am very happy to be here and it's going to be a big and good challenge in my career."

With the Premier League's winter break now under way, United's next game does not come until February 17 when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes his side to Chelsea.

United are currently seventh in the table, six points adrift of the Londoners, who occupy fourth.

Chinese clubs in the AFC Champions League have seen their first three group games postponed due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Tuesday that the matches, which were due to be held this month and in March, will be rearranged for April and May.

The exception is the game between Chiangrai United and Beijing FC, which will go ahead as planned on February 18 as Beijing are in South Korea on a training camp and therefore "may not need quarantine measures", according to the AFC.

Shanghai Shenhua, Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai SIPG are the other Chinese Super League sides involved in this year's tournament.

The AFC's decision came after an emergency meeting in Kuala Lumpur was called after failed initial attempts to have all four Chinese clubs play their first three group games away from home.

The AFC put forward that idea on January 29 but said it proved impossible because "some governments, including Australia, have introduced restrictions which made it impossible for Chinese clubs to travel to play the re-arranged matches".

Dato' Windsor John, the AFC general secretary, said in a statement: "We came together in difficult circumstances to find solutions to allow us to play football while ensuring we protect the safety and security of all players, officials, stakeholders and fans.

"We also accept that this coronavirus is a much bigger issue than just football and we wish all those who have been affected a speedy return to health."

China's top flight has already suspended the opening round of matches due to the coronavirus, while the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing have been put back to 2021 and this year's Chinese Grand Prix also appears under threat.

The World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak of the virus a global health emergency.

There were 20,630 confirmed cases of the disease, which has mostly affected China but has spread to 153 other countries, as of February 4. At least 362 people have died.

Manchester United loanee Odion Ighalo described joining the Red Devils as a "dream come true" following his deadline-day switch.

United completed a shock loan deal for Shanghai Shenhua striker Ighalo on Friday, with the 30-year-old joining until the end of the Premier League season.

With injured star forward Marcus Rashford facing at least two months on the sidelines, United turned to Ighalo, who scored 10 goals for Chinese Super League side Shenhua last term.

"It's a dream come true because since I was a kid I followed and dreamt of Manchester United," former Watford striker Ighalo told Sky Sports News.

"But it is a reality now. I cannot say much more now until I get started."

Ighalo, who was linked to United during former boss Louis van Gaal's tenure after scoring 40 goals from 100 appearances across all competitions for Watford, has starred in China.

After netting 36 times in all competitions in two seasons with Chinese side Changchun Yatai, Nigeria international Ighalo left for Shenhua in 2019.

"It's been crazy. Obviously, I am happy to be in Manchester first of all," he said. "This is a great opportunity for me and I am grateful to God, and to my agent, and the coach who has given me this opportunity to be here.

"I am happy to be here and to work out with the team and finish very well this season. The plan is to just chill today because I travelled a very long way from Shanghai to Manchester. Today is to just rest and tomorrow we start to work."

United drew 0-0 at home to Wolves on Saturday and have no drawn in blank in their past three top-flight outings. 

After the mid-season break, seventh-placed United – six points adrift of the Champions League places – travel to rivals Chelsea on February 17.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Odion Ighalo is a "great lad and very professional" as the Premier League giants completed a deadline-day loan move for the Shanghai Shenhua striker.

Ighalo leaves Chinese Super League (CSL) outfit Shenhua for Manchester on loan until the end of the season at Old Trafford, where there is reportedly no option to buy the Nigeria international.

The 30-year-old arrives at the Theatre of Dreams to help fill the void left by injured star forward Marcus Rashford, who has been ruled out for at least two months.

"Odion is an experienced player. He will come in and give us an option of a different type of centre-forward for the short spell he's staying with us," Solskjaer said on Friday.

"A great lad and very professional, he will make the most of his time here."

Ighalo's loan deal comes after United finally signed Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes for a fee of £46.5million (€55m) and a potential further £21.1m (€25m) in add-ons on Thursday.

After finally concluding their Fernandes chase, United turned to attacking reinforcements amid Rashford's injury and the Red Devils beat the transfer deadline to bring former Watford striker Ighalo to the club.

Ighalo, who was previously linked to United during former boss Louis van Gaal's tenure after scoring 40 goals from 100 appearances across all competitions for Watford, has starred in China.

After scoring 36 goals in all competitions in two seasons with Chinese side Changchun Yatai, Ighalo netted 10 times for Shenhua last term.

Manchester United left it very, very late, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given the extra striker he wanted in the form of Odion Ighalo.

With a move for Bournemouth's Joshua King dead in the water, the Red Devils focused their efforts on a loan deal for the 30-year-old, who has been playing for Shanghai Shenhua since last February.

Ighalo's deal, which Omnisport understands does not include a purchase option, will give Solskjaer another option up front during the injury absence of Marcus Rashford.

He is expected to travel to England in the coming days before United publicly announce the signing.

Ighalo was far from the only major deal to be concluded late in the transfer window, though, as West Ham just managed to finalise the signing of Jarrod Bowen from Hull City for a reported initial fee of £22million.

Aston Villa also announced a new striker signing about 10 minutes before the window closed, Borja Baston joining on a free transfer from Swansea City.

Elsewhere in England, Tariq Lamptey took the decision to leave Chelsea and sign for Brighton and Hove Albion on a contract until 2023. The Seagulls have also brought back Alexis Mac Allister from Boca Juniors, where he was on loan.


LOANS GALORE

Sheffield United had a busy end to the window, securing the arrival of Panos Retsos - initially on loan but with the option of a permanent deal - from Bayer Leverkusen, while Ravel Morrison has been sent on loan to Middlesbrough, having made one Premier League appearance this season.

Leicester City have loaned Ryan Bennett from Wolves, with Filip Benkovic allowed to leave for Bristol City for the remainder of the campaign with a view to earning regular game time.

Everton have sent Jonas Lossl back to Huddersfield Town on loan, while Connor Wickham is also heading to the Championship, the Crystal Palace striker moving to Sheffield Wednesday on loan.

Wolves have secured the signing of Luke Matheson, who famously scored at Old Trafford in September as a 16-year-old, and loaned him back to Rochdale for the remainder of the season.

Leverkusen have also brought in a signing for the future, with Edmond Tapsoba arriving from Vitoria SC for a fee said to be between €16m and €18m.
 

SERIE A FLURRY

Italy's window closed a little earlier than some others and there was a flurry of deals around the deadline.

Marko Pjaca will get the chance to kick-start his career with Anderlecht, Juventus having allowed the winger to leave on loan for the remainder of the season as he looks to earn regular first-team football.

Milan have signed Alexis Saelemaekers, a highly rated 20-year-old from Anderlecht who arrives on loan with the option of a permanent move.

Fiorentina have had a busy end to the window. Kevin Agudelo has joined the Viola from Genoa on an 18-month loan deal, while Valentin Eysseric has been sent to Hellas Verona until June.

Maya Yoshida secured a switch to Sampdoria from Southampton, while Gaston Pereiro's move from PSV to Cagliari was ratified. He will be joined in Sardinia by Alberto Paloschi, with Alberto Cerri heading the other way to SPAL.

Gervinho, meanwhile, has taken another step in his nomadic career by moving to Al Sadd from Parma, who brought in Vasco Regini on loan from Samp.
 

BUSY BARCA

Barcelona will give new €10m signing Matheus Fernandes for time to acclimatise to LaLiga, spending the rest of 2019-20 with Real Valladolid.

Barca have also sent Moussa Wague on loan to Nice, who have the option of a €10m permanent deal, while Ligue 1 rivals Lyon have signed Camilo Reijers de Oliveira for €2m.

Kevin-Prince Boateng was a shock signing for Barca 12 months ago and the experienced forward is on the move again, this time heading to Besiktas on loan from Fiorentina.

Leganes bolstered their attacking depth with two loan deals, bringing in Roger Assale from Young Boys and former player Miguel Angel Guerrero from Olympiacos.

Getafe have landed Erick Cabaco on a permanent deal, the defender joining from Levante, Granada have signed Gil Dias on loan from Monaco, and Real Sociedad have sold Ruben Pardo to Bordeaux.

Celta Vigo, meanwhile, have loaned Emre Mor to Olympiacos, while a late, late deal that saw Nicolas Gaitan sign for Lille for the rest of the season was completed in time.

Manchester United have clinched a surprise move for former Watford striker Odion Ighalo.

Ighalo is joining United on loan for the rest of the season but there is no option to buy in the deal, Omnisport understands.

United, who finally signed Bruno Fernandes for a fee of £46.5million (€55m) and a potential further £21.1m (€25m) in add-ons on Thursday, were eager to bring in a striker prior to the end of the transfer window.

With Marcus Rashford out injured, United were said to have had an approach for Josh King rebuffed by Bournemouth before turning their attention to Ighalo.

The Nigeria forward has spent the past three seasons in the Chinese Super League, scoring 10 league goals for Shanghai Shenhua last term after two prolific campaigns with Changchun Yatai.

But the 30-year-old will now bolster Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's attack, with United just managing to get a short-term loan deal completed before Friday's deadline.

An official announcement from United will come later, but it is understood all aspects of the deal have been agreed.

Ighalo has Premier League experience, having scored 16 goals for Watford in 55 top-flight appearances between 2015 and 2017.

Manchester United have clinched a surprise move for former Watford striker Odion Ighalo.

Ighalo is joining United on loan for the rest of the season but there is no option to buy in the deal, Omnisport understands.

United, who finally signed Bruno Fernandes for a fee of £46.5million (€55m) and a potential further £21.1m (€25m) in add-ons on Thursday, were eager to bring in a striker prior to the end of the transfer window.

With Marcus Rashford out injured, United were said to have had an approach for Josh King rebuffed by Bournemouth before turning their attention to Ighalo.

The Nigeria forward has spent the past three seasons in the Chinese Super League, scoring 10 league goals for Shanghai Shenhua last term after two prolific campaigns with Changchun Yatai.

But the 30-year-old will now bolster Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's attack, with United just managing to get a short-term loan deal completed before Friday's deadline.

An official announcement from United will come later, but it is understood all aspects of the deal have been agreed.

Ighalo has Premier League experience, having scored 16 goals for Watford in 55 top-flight appearances between 2015 and 2017.

Manchester United, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund are hoping to sign Juventus midfielder Emre Can.

Can, 26, is out of favour in Turin and has made just two Serie A starts this season.

The former Liverpool midfielder will reportedly be allowed to leave during this transfer window and three European giants are eyeing the Germany international.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD, TOTTENHAM AND DORTMUND EYE EMRE CAN

Manchester United, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund are chasing Juventus' Can, according to SPORT1.

With Euro 2020 coming up later this year, Can wants regular playing time to earn a spot in the Germany squad.

Can made 37 appearances in all competitions for Juve last season, but has played just eight times in 2019-20.

Sportmediaset reports Juve are working on a move for Napoli midfielder Allan to replace Can.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter will wrap up a deal for Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen early next week, according to Sky Sport Italia. The Serie A club will pay €18million (£15.2m) plus €2m (£1.7m) in bonuses for Eriksen, who is out of contract at season's end.

- Staying at San Siro and Inter are targeting Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud after recognising it would be difficult to sign Napoli's Fernando Llorente, according to Sky Sport Italia.

- Barcelona are making progress in their bid to land Valencia forward Rodrigo, according to Sport. While working on a loan move, Barcelona want an option to buy at season's end, while Valencia want it to be an obligation to purchase for around €60m. The report says Barca are willing to pay Valencia a "penalty fee" if they do not make the loan permanent.

- Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Lemar is close to signing with Premier League club Arsenal, according to El Chiringuito. Lemar has made just nine LaLiga starts this season.

- Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are in talks over a swap deal. Goal reports the clubs are discussing swapping full-backs Mattia De Sciglio and Layvin Kurzawa.

- With Marcus Rashford injured, Manchester United have looked at signing Shanghai Shenhua's Odion Ighalo and Monaco's Islam Slimani, who is on loan from Leicester City, according to Sky Sports.

The Gareth Bale transfer saga continues to roll on as he remains frozen out at Spanish giants Real Madrid with seemingly no way back.

The 30-year-old was linked with a move to China in the summer but the move did not materialise and Bale has since continued to find himself out of favour with Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

All is not lost for Bale though with three Premier League clubs battling for the Welshman's signature in January, as he builds towards a possible Euro 2020 campaign with Wales next June.

 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE TRIO KEEN TO SIGN BALE IN JANUARY

Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have all been linked with a January swoop for Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, according to AS.

The three Premier League giants are seeking solutions to solve inconsistent starts to their respective seasons and believe the Welshman could provide a timely boost leading into 2020.

Bale is seen as the perfect fit for a return to Premier League football, having maintained his good reputation from time spent with Southampton and Spurs, but it remains to be seen whether Madrid's asking price or the player's wage demands will be met. 

Marca believe Bale could revisit a potential move to China, however, with the player's agent believed to be in talks with Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter Milan are hopeful of signing Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen on a free transfer this summer, according to The Guardian.

- Sky Italia say Inter are also considering a move for out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic, which would see the Serbian reunite with Antonio Conte.

- Staying in Serie A and Corriere dello Sport claim Roma have rejected the opportunity to sign former Sunderland flop Jack Rodwell on a free transfer.

- Corriere dello Sport also believe Napoli have pulled the plug on a potential move for Salzburg star Erling Braut Haaland as they expect the 19-year-old to join Manchester United in January.

- Manchester City will replace Leroy Sane with Real Sociedad playmaker Mikel Oyarzabal should the Germany winger get his move to Bayern Munich, according to Sky Sports.

- Turkish news outlet Takvim claim Besiktas are keen to cancel their two-year loan agreement with Liverpool for goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Real Madrid want Paul Pogba and the LaLiga giants are confident the Manchester United midfielder would reject a possible return to Juventus.

Pogba, 26, is set to leave Old Trafford this close season, just three years after returning to the Premier League club from Juve.

The France international is heavily linked with a move to Madrid, but the Serie A champions are also reportedly interested.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID BELIEVE POGBA WILL REJECT JUVE RETURN

Real Madrid feel Pogba will opt against a return to Juventus even if the chance presented itself, according to the Daily Mail.

The report says Pogba wants to play for compatriot and Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and experience a new league.

Pogba has travelled with United for their pre-season tour, but his agent recently said the midfielder wants an exit.

ROUND-UP

- Madrid are set to raise some funds by selling James Rodriguez to Napoli. Marca report Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli is in Madrid with James' agent, with the LaLiga side wanting €42million for the playmaker. Napoli, meanwhile, want an option to buy later.

- Mauro Icardi is unwanted at Inter, with Napoli and Juventus linked with the forward. Corriere dello Sport report Juve president Andrea Agnelli was meeting with agent Gabriele Giuffrida, who could be the intermediary for negotiations between the Serie A champions and Inter.

- Manchester United appear to be searching for a midfielder this close season and they are linked with a surprise move for Tiemoue Bakayoko. RMC Sport say United have made contact with Chelsea about Bakayoko, back at Stamford Bridge after a loan spell at AC Milan, while Paris Saint-Germain are also chasing the French midfielder.

- Juventus are willing to sell Joao Cancelo. According to Corriere Torino, Maurizio Sarri has approved the sale of the full-back, who has been linked to Manchester City and Bayern Munich.

- Everton are looking to strengthen with the addition of a forward. Sport report the Premier League club are willing to offer £31.4m (€35m) for Barcelona forward Malcom, who has also attracted interest from Arsenal. Meanwhile, La Gazzetta dello Sport say Everton had a £26.9m (€30m) offer for teenage Juventus forward Moise Kean turned down.

- Like Icardi unwanted at Inter, Radja Nainggolan has offers from China. Gianluca Di Marzio reports the Belgian midfielder is evaluating offers from Chinese Super League (CSL) clubs Dalian Yifang and Shanghai Shenhua.

Roma have confirmed the departure of forward Stephan El Shaarawy to Shanghai Shenhua in a €16million deal.

Shenhua had announced earlier on Monday that an agreement was in place for El Shaarawy to make the move to the Chinese Super League club.

Roma added in a statement: "The club would like to thank Stephan for his efforts during his time at the club and wish him the best of luck for the future."

The Italy international scored 40 goals in 139 matches in all competitions for the Giallorossi, having joined from AC Milan in 2016.

Stephan El Shaarawy is heading to China as Shanghai Shenhua announced they had agreed terms with the forward's club Roma.

El Shaarawy, 26, has been heavily linked with a move to the Chinese Super League (CSL) club for a reported €18million.

In a statement on their website on Monday, Shanghai Shenhua confirmed they had reached an agreement with Roma.

"Shanghai Greenland Shenhua Football Club and Italy's Rome Football Club have reached a transfer agreement," the statement read.

"Stephan El Shaarawy, who has dual Italian and Egyptian nationality, is expected to arrive in Shanghai on July 8th, Beijing time.

"After completing the relevant procedures, he officially joined Shanghai Greenland Shenhua."

El Shaarawy has spent the past three and a half seasons with Roma, having joined on a permanent move from AC Milan in 2016.

A 23-time Italy international, he scored 11 goals in 33 games in all competitions last season.

El Shaarawy joins a Shanghai Shenhua side struggling in 14th in the CSL after just three wins from their opening 16 games.

Manchester United are desperate to sign Leicester City defender Harry Maguire.

Maguire, 26, has reportedly told Leicester he wants to leave, with both Manchester clubs linked with a move for the centre-back.

But it seems Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is eager to bring the England international to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UNITED STARS GIVE MAGUIRE THUMBS-UP

Maguire is Manchester United's number one defensive target, according to the Mirror.

The report says Solskjaer received positive feedback from the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young, the United trio having played with Maguire for England.

The Mirror also say United assistant manager Mike Phelan is desperate for the club to sign Maguire, who he worked with briefly as Hull City manager in 2016-17.

It was reported earlier this week that United had made a £70million bid for Maguire.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Old Trafford, Manchester United have offered goalkeeper David de Gea – who has been linked with a move away – a final £350,000-per-week contract, according to The Sun.

- Romelu Lukaku is set to join United's pre-season tour despite reportedly being set for a move away. The Sun say Inter are yet to meet United's £75m price tag for the striker.

- After 12-and-a-half years at the Santiago Bernabeu, Marcelo is set to leave Real Madrid. The left-back, who faced plenty of criticism during 2018-19, will leave the LaLiga giants in the coming weeks, according to Sport.

- It looks set to be a busy few days for West Ham. The Premier League club have agreed to sell Marko Arnautovic to Shanghai SIPG for £23m, according to the Daily Mail. The Mirror say the Hammers are looking at West Brom striker Salomon Rondon, while Football London report the club are trying to land Celta Vigo forward Maxi Gomez, who was set to join Valencia.

- There could be another talented forward heading to China, with Sky Sport Italia reporting Stephan El Shaarawy has agreed to move to Shanghai Shenhua. Roma reportedly want €20m for the forward.

- AC Milan have completed a €16m move for Empoli midfielder Ismael Bennacer, according to Gianluca Di Marzio, who also reports the club have enquired about Benfica's Gedson Fernandes. Still at San Siro, Sky Sports News report Liverpool are not looking to sell rumoured Rossoneri target Dejan Lovren.

Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua have parted company with Quique Sanchez Flores, the coach citing personal reasons for his exit.

Former Atletico Madrid, Watford and Espanyol boss Flores leaves with the club 14th in the table, a point above the relegation zone.

A club statement said Flores' resignation had been accepted and praised the coach for giving young players a chance to impress despite poor results.

"Since taking office in December 2018, Mr Flores and his team have worked diligently and conscientiously," the club said in a statement. 

"Although the team did not perform well in the first half of the season, a group of young players got the opportunity to play, laying a good foundation for future development of the team."

Shanghai Shenhua, whose players include Odion Ighalo and Fredy Guarin, are two-time CSL champions and won the Chinese FA Cup two years ago, though they finished seventh last term.

Flores was linked with taking charge of Championship club West Brom before Slaven Bilic was appointed last month.

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