The former Red Devils centre-back was impressed with the immediate impact the Nigerian has had since arriving at Old Trafford on loan.
Odion Ighalo has included a much-needed physical existence to Manchester United’s assault, based on Rio Ferdinand, who believes that the experienced forward has earned a permanent contract.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took a late bet in the January transfer window as he sought an excess striker to offer cover for the injured Marcus Rashford, turning into a man who had spent the past three decades of his career at the Chinese Super League.
Ighalo joined United on a six-month loan deal from Shanghai Shenhua on deadline day, returning to the Premier League following a previous stint in Watford between 2015 and 2017.
The surprise move was originally viewed as a damning indictment of how far the Red Devils has dropped concerning recruitment, but the Nigerian has managed to defy his critics and play his role in an impressive unbeaten run.
Ighalo has found the net four times in his first three starts for United, displaying his ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play whilst pushing first-choice frontman Anthony Martial to raise his game.
It has been learned the 30-year-old is receptive to extending his stay at Old Trafford beyond the summer, but his future is very much up in the air amid the coronavirus pandemic which had gripped the entire world.
With 2019-20 now on hiatus, it isn’t yet known when the transport market will reopen or really when regular service can resume at nightclubs across the Premier League.
Ferdinand says that Ighalo has managed to prove him and everyone else wrong during the past couple of months and that he’d be thrilled to see United hand him a fulltime contract.
“Wow, eight games, three starts at that, four goals and one assist. Ighalo, do you register him for Manchester United now?” The ex-Red Devils defender said during a Q&A on Instagram.
“All the folks that out there who were saying: ‘What are we doing signing Ighalo? What’s happening? What is Ole thinking?’ — I was one of them, I need to admit it.
“Ighalo’s been in China, the league’s nowhere close to what the Premier League is so how is he likely get up to speed? Is he going to be ready straight away? We are in need of a person to come and make an impact immediately. Coming from China, hopeless.
“Well, he’s proved us all wrong. This man has proved us wrong. It is refreshing to see somebody who resembles a supporter, who’s thankful.
“He looks like he is absolutely delighted to be at Manchester United. He has been a Manchester United supporter his entire life. He looks like he is saying’thank you’ every day he walks up to Ole for giving him this opportunity.
“He is not someone who says ‘Manchester United is blessed to have me ‘ — that is the vibe I have for a little while and that is not only United, that is other clubs also.
“This boy looks like he is happy to be here:’Anything you tell me to do I will go out there and do it to the best of my ability. I will give you 100 percent daily in training and in games because I really like this club and I wish to do right with this club’. I really like it.
“It is shocked me to find out what he’s done. Listen, we are not talking like he has turned Man United into world-beaters however United wanted something and he has brought it in and given it and that is all you can ask for.
“And I think he has warranted the chance to come in as a fulltime participant and what he is given Manchester United they did not have is someone they could pass the ball can hold it up, he has a physical existence, he could hold off a defender or two and put the ball in for somebody else to score.”
Ferdinand went on to draw comparisons between Ighalo and Henrik Larsson, the Swedish poacher who became a cult favorite among United fans following a three-month loan spell at Old Trafford back in 2007.
“[Marcus] Rashford, when he is fit, will love playing with somebody like this,” Ferdinand continued. “He could have the impact on the Rashfords, on the Martials, on Daniel James etc.. That somebody like Larsson, that can have [an influence] about the likes of [Wayne] Rooney and [Louis] Saha when he had been there.
“That little bit of expertise. He has something that is different from all the other men in the group and you need that sometimes.”