Many Nigerians waved away the news that broke out over the weekend linking Super Eagles forward Odion Ighalo with a move to Spanish giants Barcelona in the January transfer window following the relegation of his Chinese team Chanchung Yatai.
Owngoalnigeria.com takes a look at five reasons why they could be some truth in the report linking Ighalo to Barcelona, a move which could happen like that of Jean-Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who went to PSG from Stoke City in the summer despite many laughing off the link when it first emerged.
1. Barcelona Have Done Similar Deals In The Past – While most teams are not keen on signing players from the Chinese Super League, Barcelona shocked many when they announced the signing of midfielder Paulinho from the CSL, a little over a year ago, although he left in the summer, he did enough to prove that the league is not as backward as many think.
2. Scarcity Of Options In Europe – Some of the strikers Barcelona will love to sign are either too expensive or not willing to play second fiddle to the trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele. Ighalo fits the bill of that emergency striker who could do a job for the team for six months, while they focus on long term solutions to sign next summer.
3. Experience & Realiable Back Up – Following his stint in Norway, Italy, Spain and later England before his transfer to China. The Nigerian might lack some credentials worthy of a player of Barcelona but experience wise he is probably what they need in terms of a back up who is experienced with stints in various countries.
4. Classic Number 9 – Coach Ernesto Valverde isn’t short of quality upfront but the need to have a striker who is different from the players he has at his disposal will help the team play in a different way when the need arises. Ighalo is a penalty box striker something Barcelona can’t boast of now.
5. Suarez Is The Only Out & Out Striker At The Club – The departure of Munir to Sevilla left the club with just one out and out striker in Luis Suarez. More worrisome for the team is that they don’t have any coming up from the B team ripe enough for the first team. Ighalo represents a cheap option who can plug the gap caused by the exit of Munir.