Ighalo rejected £300k wage to play in China before first Premier League spell

Former Manchester United striker Odion Igahlo has revealed that he rejected an offer to play in China for £300,000 per week ahead of his first stint in the Premier League.

At the time, Ighalo was playing for Watford, scoring 20 goals as they won promotion to the top-flight under Slavisa Jokanovic.

But before the Hornets had even played a game following their eight-year stay in the Championship, a team from the Chinese Super League swooped in to attempt to buy him.

With the Chinese government at that time heavily pushing clubs to splash out on huge fees, Ighalo was offered a staggering wage to move east.

And Ighalo has now revealed the lengths to which the unnamed club went, including a transfer fee Watford owner Gino Pozzo immediately accepted.

“We just get promotion to the Premier League. Back in Lagos, my dream was to play in the Premier League,” he told the King Ekong podcast.

“So we just gained promotion, I scored 20 goals in the Championship to gain promotion to the Premier League.

“An offer came from China, a big offer even for the club. Gino already accepted the offer from China. You know Gino is a businessman but he already accepted the offer from China.

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“They were calling me. I have to accept this, very big money from this. First of all it was like £300,000 a week.”

Despite that huge wage, Ighalo decided to reject the move to China, though the interested club made one final offer to the striker.

“I said: ‘I don’t want to go to China, my dream is to play in the Premier League’. And I won’t sell that dream for nothing,” he said.

“These people flew all the way from China, we were sitting down, my agent, the director of this team.

“He said: ‘Is the money the problem?’. I said no and he said ‘Ok we’re going £500,000 to the sign-on fee.

“I said it’s not the money, give me time, let me think about it. I was lucky I turned that down, then I played in the Premier League, I scored 16 goals.”

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