Shanghai (AFP) – Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo, who recently concluded a year on loan at Manchester United, has joined Saudi Arabian side Al-Shabab from Shanghai Shenhua.
The 31-year-old has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal, the six-time Saudi champions said on Twitter, and becomes the latest major name to depart the Chinese Super League.
Former Watford and Granada star Ighalo fulfilled a boyhood dream when he joined Premier League giants United on loan in January last year.
As a back-up striker he made 23 appearances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side and scored five goals, but barely saw action this season after United signed Uruguayan marksman Edinson Cavani.
Saying farewell to United at the end of last month, Ighalo wrote on Instagram: “I’m still, and would remain, a Manchester United fan for ever.”
The Chinese Super League gained a reputation for luring star players and coaches from Europe on lavish contracts in recent years.
But Chinese football has moved to rein in the spending through salary caps and a 100 percent transfer tax on incoming foreign players.
Several well-known foreign players have departed in recent months.
Ighalo’s Shenhua team-mate, the Italian international forward Stephan El Shaarawy, similarly left the Chinese club last week when he returned to Roma.
Veteran former international forwards Hulk and Graziano Pelle both left China towards the end of last year.
25+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
- Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
- $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
- Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
- Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family