According to TEAMtalk over the weekend, Newcastle are interested in a move for former Watford striker Odion Ighalo, with the forward hoping for a Premier League return.
Ighalo is playing in the Chinese Super League for Shanghai Shenhua – his second club in China, after moving from Changchun Yatai in February – and has scored 10 goals in 18 games this season.
The article credits a number of clubs with an interest, and Newcastle are one of them, but it seems highly unlikely the Nigerian will arrive on Tyneside.
Newcastle’s transfer blueprint is always to by younger players, who are likely to have an increased sell-on value – Ighalo fits into neither of those brackets.
Were he to get a move back to the Premier League, he is likely to want a multi-year contract, and at 30, there is little chance of Newcastle agreeing to that.
Even if it was a loan deal, his parent club would almost certainly want an ‘obligation to buy’ clause inserted into it, which again would mean committing to a long-term deal.
Wages would also surely be an issue
Then there are the wages Ighalo is likely to be on in China. Most players who go there, do so because of the vast amounts of money on offer, which would suggest the player will be on a very lucrative deal.
It is doubtful he would want to return to the Premier League with a salary that is not close to the one he is currently on, and again, Newcastle would not be likely to compete.
Finally, what sort of message would his signing send to the supporters? The club backed off from a deal to bring Salomon Rondon to St James’ Park permanently, largely thought to be due to his age.
So to think they would then go out and sign a striker of the same age, just a few months later, is a notion I simply cannot buy into.
The other clubs mentioned with an interest are Watford, his former club for whom he scored 40 goals in 100 appearances, Everton, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Southampton.
Those clubs look far more likely to be a genuine destination for Ighalo than Tyneside.
Of course, it is the month before the opening of the winter transfer window, and therefore, silly season for rumours and speculation, as agents put the word out, and peddle their clients to potential new clubs.
It remains to be seen if Ighalo returns to England next month, but if he does, it is almost certain to be somewhere other than the north east.