– Odion Ighalo reveals his move to Changchun Yatai was inspired by money
– Crystal Palace and West Brom wanted to sign him but could not cough out the needed money
– The 30-year-old was already spending more time on the bench than on the pitch before leaving Vicarage Road in 2017
Retired Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo has revealed that money was one of the main reasons he left England for China.
The 30-year-old forward joined Changchun Yatai in a deal valued around €23.30 million in January 2017.
Before his departure from the Vicarage Road Stadium about three years back, the Nigerian attacker was no more enjoying enough playing time.
Premier League duo of Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion wanted the striker but the clubs failed to come up with feed needed to complete the deal.
Ighalo revealed that the money on offer from the Chinese outfit was more beneficial for both himself and the Hornets which led to his move to the Asian League.
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations’ highest goals scorer, however, insisted that he remains a Watford supporter following his time at Vicarage Road.
“There’s a lot of reasons I went there [China]. I wasn’t playing much in Watford and I did not want to keep sitting on the bench,” Ighalo told the Watfordobserver.
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“Watford fans don’t know it but I had an offer from Crystal Palace on the table and West Bromwich but the club was looking for big money and that’s why I accepted Changchun Yatai at the time.
“So, instead of me sitting down there and not playing I had to move. When the opportunity came for me I accepted it because China could pay what Watford wanted.
“But this is past tense now. I am happy and Watford are happy because they made a lot of money with me. And they are still my team in the Premier League.
“I don’t know about other players. Maybe they go there for different ambitions. Me? Yes, I went there for the money I am honest but I don’t know why other players go there for.”
Ighalo revealed that his experience in the Chinese Super League is different from what he heard while newly joining them.
The forward added that he has no regrets taking that decision when the need arose having won his first title with his new club Shanghai Shenhua, while scoring ten goals in 19 league matches.
“Before I went there, people said a lot of negative things about the Chinese League but when I went there I saw a different game,” he said.
“The league is really growing, they have a lot of foreign coaches and players who improve the league.
“All I can say is that the Chinese Super League is improving every day and I am very happy about my choice. Regrets? No everything is going well, I am happy there and working hard.”
Legit.ng earlier reported that Odion Ighalo was shortlisted in the final 10-man list for the 2019 African Footballer of the Year.
Ighalo finished as the highest goalscorer in the qualifiers with seven goals but he missed out in the final three slots for the award which was eventually won by Liverpool and Senegal forward Sadio Mane.
The Shanghai Shenhua striker had a good 2019 with the Super Eagles where he emerged top scorer for AFCON 2019 with five goals.
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