Odion Ighalo has joined Saudi side Al Shabab after his loan spell at Manchester United came to an end.
The 31-year-old former Nigeria international, who was said to have had offers on the table from Premier League clubs, has joined on a two-and-a-half year deal from Shanghai Shenhua.
Al Shabab are currently top of the Saudi Professional League, just past the halfway stage of the season. They are looking to win their first league title since 2011-12, with Ighalo a welcome capture.
He will link up with Argentina international Ever Banega, who joined from Sevilla at the end of last season, as well as former Real Betis and Wolves midfielder Alfred N'Diaye.
Ighalo posted a farewell message on Instagram saying ‘Thank you’ in Chinese to his former employers, though it is doubtless Old Trafford which he is most disappointed to be leaving behind.
He recently posted a heartfelt goodbye message describing his move to United as “a dream” and “an honour I will forever cherish”.
Plenty questioned his signing when he was brought in on loan at the end of the January transfer window last year but he made an instant impact, scoring in wins in the FA Cup and Europa League.
He finished with five goals in 23 appearances for United but fell out of favour after the arrival of Edinson Cavani, with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford also ahead of him in the pecking order for the central striking position.
"It’s so hard to see this dream come to an end,” Ighalo wrote. “But I give God the glory for helping me fulfill this lifelong dream of putting on a Manchester United shirt as a player and represent this great club, it was indeed an honor I will forever cherish and be grateful for.
"To the manager I say thank you for trusting and believing in me when many did not, to my amazing team-mates I will miss you guys, it was always fun and a time I look forward to training and spending time with all of you. And I pray we win the LEAGUE and FA Cup this year.
"To the best fans in the world (the Manchester United fans) we have missed you, but we hear your voices cheering us on from afar, we can’t wait to have you all back on the stands.
"I’m still and would remain a MANCHESTER UNITED FAN forever. Once a Red, always a Red. Thank you Manchester United and God bless."
By Sam France
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