Former Manchester United forward Odion Ighalo has reportedly emerged as a shock January target for Newcastle United.

According to Sky Sports, Newcastle United are scouring the market for a new striker as they look to beef up their offensive unit after a disastrous start to the campaign. One of the players included in the potential list of candidates is former Manchester United ace Odion Ighalo.

The Nigerian forward currently plies his trade at Al Shabab, but it appears he is open to leaving Saudi Arabia, should Newcastle make a formal approach in January.

A native of Lagos, Ighalo is a well-travelled footballer who has had spells in Spain, England, Italy, China and Saudi Arabia. He is most popular for his stint in the Premier League, with the forward notably netting 40 goals in 100 competitive appearances for Watford from 2014 to 2017 before he moved to China.

However, after three years in the Chinese Super League, Ighalo returned to England in early 2020, joining Manchester United on a loan deal. Unfortunately, the Nigerian striker failed to score a single Premier League goal in 11 matches, though he was involved in three goals in three matches in the FA Cup.

Odion Ighalo could make an appearance against his former club on Saturday (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Odion Ighalo failed to score a single league goal for Manchester United. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The Nigerian forward returned to China at the start of the year, but after his contract ended at SH Shenhua, he joined Al Shabab for a fee of €2.5 million. The veteran forward has since scored 18 goals in just 26 matches for the Saudi Arabian giants.

Ighalo’s spell in the Middle East might not last for long, though, with Newcastle United considering a move for the striker in the upcoming January transfer window. It appears the Magpies are looking to sign an experienced goalscoring option in January, one who can compete with Callum Wilson.

The Tyneside club has been linked with a move for Edin Dzeko. But the Bosnian international remains an unrealistic option given the success he has had with Inter Milan this season. Hence, Newcastle United have now set their sights on Odion Ighalo.

Although his tally of 17 goals in 67 Premier League is not particularly eye-catching, it seems Newcastle are considering the former Manchester United striker due to his vast experience at the highest level of football. His mentality and work ethic might be exactly what new manager Eddie Howe needs, as he looks to charge the survival campaign during the second half of the season.

Therefore,  it will be interesting to see if the Nigerian international does end up returning to the Premier League in January and help Newcastle survive the wrath of relegation.

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