Former Newcastle and West Brom striker Salomon Rondon has made the astonishing admission that he came within a whisker of securing a move to Manchester United last month.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was actively in the market for frontline reinforcements during the January transfer window after Marcus Rashford sustained a double stress fracture in his back, which could rule him out for the season.
Was Rondon close to joining Man Utd? Five things to know…
- Solskjaer sought to bring in a new striker last month following an injury picked up by Rashford.
- The England international suffered a back injury in mid-January and could potentially miss the season.
- The likes of Edinson Cavani were linked with a move but Man Utd settled on Odion Ighalo.
- The ex-Watford striker has signed a six-month loan deal from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.
- Rondon has since revealed he came “really close” to sealing a move instead of Ighalo.
The Norwegian coach has since conceded the England international may not play for the club again this campaign, which will seriously jeopardise his chances of featuring for Gareth Southgate’s side in the Euros.
The initial diagnosis quickly ruled Rashford out for at least three months, meaning Solskjaer had to turn his attention to the market, with several strikers finding their names associated with a move to Old Trafford.
Among those were unlikely duo Odion Ighalo and Salomon Rondon, who both left the Premier League for China in recent seasons, but it was the former who secured a move back to these shores.
Odion Ighalo is the first ever Nigerian player to appear for Man Utd in the Premier League.
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Ighalo secured a loan move to Man Utd for the remainder of the season from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, while Rondon has remained at Dalian Professional, though his path could have been so much different he claims.
“It was all out of my hands,” the 30-year-old told The Athletic.
“It means a lot to be linked with Manchester United because they have a great history and it must mean they think I did well in the Premier League.
“They started to talk to my agent and I was just waiting by my phone for a decision, maybe for the lawyers, but then I saw Ighalo had signed.
“It didn’t get to the stage where an offer was made or anything like that, but I think it was really close.”
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Rondon: I’m happy for Ighalo
Since leaving English football for the Chinese Super League, Rondon has scored five goals in 12 matches for his new club, picking up from where he left off on Tyneside, where his efforts yielded 12 goals and seven assists for Newcastle last season.
Pushed further on whether a failed move to Man Utd has been a cause of frustration, Rondon swatted away such a suggestion, and instead outlined his glee for the club’s new marksman.
He added: “It’s just football.
“It’s decisions again and they obviously decided Ighalo was the best decision for them. I’ve played against him and I’m pleased for him.
“All I can do is keep working. I’m concentrating on Dalian, on working and learning and listening to the manager. After that, we will have to wait and see. You just never know in this game.”