The former England international is impressed with the Nigerian forward and draws comparisons with the Senegal international
Former Tottenham Hotspur forward Darren Bent has exclaimed how pleased he is with Odion Ighalo’s fast start to life at Manchester United, comparing him with Papiss Cisse’s time at Newcastle United.
Ighalo – a loan signing from Shanghai Shenhua has scored four goals in eight appearances for the Red Devils, winning the hearts of fans in the process.
His fine displays have thus linked the 30-year old Nigerian with a permanent switch to Old Trafford.
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Cisse played for Newcastle between January 2011 and June 2016. His maiden campaign saw him hit 13 goals in 14 appearances for the Magpies including an audacious strike in a 2-0 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge which was bound to go off target, but still found its way in.
Ighalo himself scored 15 goals in his maiden Premier League season with Watford during the 2015-16 campaign.
“He’s [Ighalo] holding up the ball really well, scoring goals and very much like reminds me of the Ighalo we saw at Watford when he had that season where he was fantastic, scoring between 15 and 20 [goals] and it looks like he’s got that confidence back,” Bent said on talkSPORT.
“He might go a chunk of games without scoring goals, but once he finds the back of the net, he just goes on a roll.
“He kind of reminds me of Papiss Cisse. He had that season where he came in and scored goals and everything, he hit like the one at Chelsea, shouldn’t go in but it flies into the corner.”
Bent says he had no doubts about Ighalo’s quality after there was initial skepticism about United’s choice of signing him, particularly as a last minute buy on transfer deadline day in January.
“I know a lot of people question the signing, but I was always one that said it does make a little bit of sense.
“They [Manchester United didn’t seem to get hold of any body and he was willing to come there and take a pay cut from what he was earning [in China].
“He’s got pedigree in the Premier League. He’s been up to speed and has been absolutely brilliant. Whether they will keep him beyond this season, I can’t see it, but at the minute, he’s been absolutely fantastic.
“Everything has gone well for Ighalo. Manchester United have not had to pay much money for him and he wasn’t to be there.
“He’s spoken about how much he loves Manchester United. He’s been a shining light and someone they [United] needed.”
Bent is also of the opinion that Ighalo’s rise and the potential of keeping at Old Trafford next season will push rising star Mason Greenwood down the pecking order.
The 18-year has been in equally good form for the club, scoring 12 competitive goals.
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“It might hamper him, maybe a little bit. As far as next season goes [If United keeps Ighalo], they’ll have Rashford, Ighalo, Martial, Greenwood and James.
“That’s five and they never play a front two, it’s always a front three.
“So you’re going to have Ighalo down the middle, Rashford down the left, Martial really can’t play from the right, so you’ve got Dan James and Greenwood just sitting there.”