Why Odion Ighalo could be the saviour of a sinking Everton ship
The 30-year-old has racked up an impressive tally of 10 goals in 17 games for Shanghai Shenhua, who are currently 13th in the domestic standings. His red-hot form in the Far East has put him on the brink of a return to the Premier League, with Everton among his potential suitors.
Ighalo, who initially moved to England with Watford from Italian club Udinese back in the summer of 2014, fired the Hornets to Premier League promotion with 20 goals in the Championship.
The Nigerian went on to register 15 goals in the following campaign in the Premier League to ensure safety for the Hertfordshire outfit in the top-flight.
However, a drastic dip in form that saw him find the net only once in 18 league appearances during the first half of the 2016-17 campaign prompted Watford to cash in on him in January 2017 amidst interest from Chinese side Changchun Yatai, who paid £20million to secure the striker’s services.
The 30-year-old, who boasts of 16 goals in 35 senior international appearances for Nigeria, has fired on all cylinders since his move to China, racking up 36 goals in 55 appearances for Changchun Yatai over the course of two seasons before completing a switch to Shanghai Shenhua prior to the start of the 2019 season.
Meanwhile, Everton’s miseries under Marco Silva do not seem to be coming to an end anytime soon after the Toffees crumbled to their 8th defeat of the season in the Premier League against Leicester City on Sunday, thanks to Kelechi Iheanacho’s VAR-approved winner in injury-time that sent the King Power Stadium into waves of ecstasy.
Everton slipped down to 17th in the standings as a result of that defeat, with the Toffees now just a couple of points above the relegation zone ahead of Wednesday’s Merseyside derby against Liverpool.
Given the club’s terrible run of form and with the Toffees set to lock horns with heavyweights Chelsea, Arsenal, Man United and Man City in the Premier League over the course of a busy festive period, Silva’s future at Goodison Park continues to be up in the air.
To that end, the Portuguese gaffer might as well look to bring in some radical reinforcements in January should he last that long, in a bid to bolster his unit and Everton’s links with Odion Ighalo certainly strikes the right chords.
Returns of just 14 goals in 14 games clearly epitomise the need to add more bite to the attacking unit in the coming months. Notwithstanding the fact that Richarlison has been one of the rare bright sparks of a sinking Everton ship, the lack of a prolific striker has returned to haunt the Toffees.
Everton have been crying out for a new striker since the departure of Romelu Lukaku to Man United and while Cenk Tosun was roped in from Besiktas back in January 2018 to fill the Belgian’s shoes, the Turk currently finds himself relegated to bench duty under Silva.
Truth be told, Tosun’s move to Goodison Park has proven to be an absolute disaster for all parties. With another big-money signing from Juventus, Moise Kean, yet to show any signs of evolving into a 20-goal striker in the Premier League, the door is very much open for someone like Odion Ighalo to come in and answer the club’s prayers for a bonafide goalscorer.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin continues to be an excellent long-term prospect, much like Kean, but Everton certainly need an immediate game-changer up top to save themselves from the ignominy of a horror season in the Premier League.
Ighalo, 30, might not be up there with the best in Europe but his previous exploits in the Premier League at Watford mean that the Nigerian could be a welcome addition to Everton’s lacklustre attack that seems to lack any sort of clinical edge at the moment.
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Suffice to say, a striker with proven Premier League pedigree is exactly the need of the hour at Goodison Park heading into the January window and Odion Ighalo could well be the saviour for the Toffees.