Manchester United wanted a striker in January after seeing Marcus Rashford suffer a serious back injury in a 2-1 FA Cup win over Wolves. And, after links to the likes of Erling Braut Haaland, Timo Werner and Lautaro Martinez, the Red Devils ended up with Odion Ighalo instead. Express Sport now takes a look at what the Nigeria international will offer the club – and how he differs to Anthony Martial.
Ighalo was at his bruising best for Watford in the 2015/2016 campaign, so that’s what we’re going to be looking at.
During that season he managed to find the net 16 times in the Premier League, weighing in with three assists.
Martial’s highest goal tally across all competitions is just 17 and he’s managed eight Premier League goals from his appearances so far.
That suggests Martial won’t get near matching the total netted by Ighalo during his best campaign at Vicarage Road.
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What about in the air?
Many think Ighalo is like Romelu Lukaku, somebody capable of winning aerial duels.
But Wyscout’s stats suggest Martial is actually ahead of him in that department.
The France international has won 22.4 per cent of his aerial duels this season, and 49 in total.
Ighalo, meanwhile, won 19.5 per cent of the duels he contested in that prolific season at Watford. He did engage in considerably more, though, 164 in total.
Touches in the box
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rates Ighalo and is happy with the signing of the striker.
And that’s because he wanted a fox in the box, somebody who makes things happen from inside the area.
Ighalo managed a staggering 159 touches from inside the penalty area during his best campaign for Watford.
Martial this season has managed just 67 which, when you consider he’s the Red Devils’ leading No 9, isn’t good enough.
To further back up the claim that Ighalo is most of a natural striker, take a look at the heat map above.
The Nigeria hitman has spent the majority of the past year in China up top, spending 93 per cent of his time there.
Martial, this season, has spent just 45 per cent of his minutes there.
He’s instead spent much of the time drifting out wide.
And it’s easy to see why Solskjaer chose to sign Ighalo as a result.