Ighalo: Reason I left Watford for China
Odion Ighalo has revealed the utmost reason why he left Watford and journey into the Far East for greener pastures. He confessed money was the wheel of the drastic action.
The Nigerian shunned interests from Premier League outfits West Bromwich, Crystal Palace and followed the mouthwatering benefits of the growing Oriental football to Chinese Super League outfit Changchun Yatai.
“There’s lot of reasons I went there [China]. I wasn’t playing much in Watford and I did not want to keep sitting on the bench,” the 30-year-old revealed to Watford Observer.
“Watford fans don’t know it but I had an offer from Crystal Palace on the table and West Bromwich but the club was looking for big money and that’s why I accepted Changchun Yatai at the time. So, instead of me sitting down there and not playing I had to move. When the opportunity came for me I accepted it because China could pay what Watford wanted. But this is past tense now. I am happy and Watford are happy because they made a lot of money with me. And they are still my team in the Premier League.
“I don’t know about other players. Maybe they go there for different ambitions. Me? Yes, I went there for the money I am honest but I don’t know why other players go there for.”
While his move to China was propelled by money, Ighalo has no regrets whatsoever from the transfer, infact he’s enjoying the unprecedented progress of the Super League.
“Before I went there, people said a lot of negative things about the Chinese League but when I went there I saw a different game,” he said.
“The league is really growing, they have a lot of foreign coaches and players who improve the league. All I can say is that the Chinese Super League is improving every day and I am very happy about my choice. Regrets? No everything is going well, I am happy there and working hard.”
He moved from Changchun Yatai to Shanghai Shenhua in February 2019, where he helped the team win the 2019 Chinese FA Cup. He brushed off a rare return to European football, this time in the blue and red stripes of FC Barcelona to sign for the ‘The Flower of Shanghai’.
In the wakes of his moves to Asia, there were buzzling debates centered on the competitiveness of the emerging Asian leagues and should African players who are heading there be considered fit enough to represent their fatherlands against contingents that slugs it out in the high-octane European leagues. As expected, Ighalo, being the most prominent Super Eagles striker at the time, was one of the biggest targets of the detractors who roused up the debates.
He tore through the cynics sorry debates when he returned to the Super Eagles nest. He scored 11 goals in 13 appearances to emerge 2019 AFCON qualifiers’ highest goalscorer, before rounding it all off with a golden boot at the competition proper.
Shehu Idris Tẹjumọla18 Posts
Shehu Idris Tẹjumọla is a football fanatic, a voracious reader of football contents and an Indefatigable football writing junkie. Author of future Man Booker-winning, best-selling books.