Ighalo Reunites with Former Watford Coach in China

Odion Ighalo

Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo is ‘excited’ to reunite with former Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores at Chinese Super League (CSL) side Shanghai Shenhua.

The 29-year-old striker moves to the three-time CSL champions on a three-year deal.

He admits the Spaniard pulled out all the stops to make the move happen.

“It’s important to sort my club future and I’m happy that it comes with a great opportunity to play under coach Quique again,” Ighalo told BBC Sport.

“From the beginning he made it clear that he wanted me and I completely understand what that means.

“We’ve had some good times together and importantly it’s good to continue in a league you’ve come to understand, so I am really excited.”

Both made history for Watford by winning the English Premier League player and manager of the month awards for December 2015 – the first time anybody from the club had received either honour.

His new club were seventh last season, 30 points behind winners Shanghai SIPG.

Ighalo finished as the CSL’s second top scorer with 21 goals, but it was not enough to save his former club, Changun Yatai, from relegation.

“I thank Changun Yatai for the love, support and everything we shared together in two amazing years. I wish the club all the best in what lies ahead.

“Right now, I want to give my best to Shanghai Shenhua and make important contributions.

“I also had a good chat with Obafemi Martins [former Shenhua striker] and he gave me an insight on life, football, the club and it’s fan base. Now I know what to expect.”

Since his move from Watford in January 2017 Ighalo scored 36 goals in 55 appearances in China.

Ighalo, who has played in Norway, Italy, Spain as well as Watford, was a target for many teams in China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

A former youth international, he has 10 goals in 25 appearances for the Super Eagles and his six goals helped Nigeria seal a return to the Africa Cup of Nations.