Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently declared in no uncertain terms that he would ‘rather have a hole in the squad than an a***hole’.
That kind of thinking has dominated the revamp the Norwegian has overseen at Old Trafford over the last 12 months and extended loan signing Odion Ighalo keeps saying all the right things to prove that he is worthy of his ongoing place in the positive new-look squad.
Burned by getting the wrong players in the past, United have been keen to build things the right way this time around and Ighalo arrived on a short-term deal from Shanghai Shenhua in January when United were unable to land primary striker target Erling Haaland, who joined Borussia Dortmund.
The Nigerian has had no delusions of grandeur and has fitted into the squad well, accepting his back-up role with grace and good will and making sure he performs when called upon – four goals in three starts across the FA Cup and Europa League is testament to that.
“I’m really happy. It's a dream for me to be here. I'm buzzing and ready to go,” Ighalo told MUTV.
“The last few days have been difficult as there have been different talks about it but now I'm really happy so I need to concentrate fully. I'm here until the end of January, so it's good for me.”
He continued, “Since the first day I arrived, I made it clear that I wanted whatever it takes to continue that work. It was very difficult, there were some talks, but I'm happy they finally agreed and got everything done. Everything is official now.”
Ighalo supported United while growing up and has been living out his childhood dream over the last few months, which has been a driving force behind his determination to work hard and impress.
“Like I've said, since I was young, I've been supporting this club and playing for it is a dream. Now I've extended my loan, it makes it more even clear and I'm committed as I know, in my head, I'm here until [the end of] January,” the player said.
“I just want to work hard and enjoy it, support the team and do whatever I can to make us go higher and higher.”