Contrary to wide held belief that FC Barcelona withdrew their interest in Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo during the last January transfer window, the Nigerian top striker has sensational claimed he turned down Barcelona’s offer.
According to Spanish sports publication, Tribuna, Ighalo told BBC that what he got from Barcelona was a loan offer which he declined as he had just finished the season as a second-top goalscorer in the Chinese league and didn’t want to play a secondary short-term role, even at Barca.
The 29-year-old Nigeria international Odion Ighalo has confirmed that he was offered a chance to join Barcelona but decided against it as he didn’t want to be just a back-up at the Camp Nou.
“My agent spoke to me about a loan interest from Barcelona. The club wanted a striker with La Liga experience and someone who understands Spanish football,” Ighalo told BBC.
”It was meant to be a six-month loan and strictly as a back-up striker. It was nice to hear that Barcelona were interested and any footballer would be more than happy to take it.
”But with due respect, I had just finished as the second top scorer in China with 21 goals, I deserve better and didn’t want to be a short-term player somewhere. We rejected it, it was an easy decision to make and I chose to stay in China by joining Shanghai Shenhua on a longer contract,” Ighalo concluded.
The Nigerian forward moved to Changchun Yatai from Watford in 2017 for 25 million pounds and became a goalscoring sensation there. In February he signed for Shanghai Shenhua. Ighalo used to play for Granada and Watford before joining the Chinese Super League side. During his Premier League times, he scored 27 goals in two seasons.
In January, Diario Sport reported about Barca’s interest in Ighalo, as the club was in search of a striker to replace Munir. In the end, the Catalans ended up signing Kevin-Prince Boateng on loan from Sassuolo for these purposes.