Watford striker Odion Ighalo insisted his decision to turn down “crazy money” in China has been justified.
Ighalo scored 20 goals in 35 Championship matches last season as he helped Watford into the Premier League, and the 26-year-old was a target of Chinese second-tier club Hebei China Fortune during the close-season.
With five games left in China’s League One, Hebei are just two points adrift of a promotion spot to the Chinese Super League, while Watford had to wait until their fifth match in the Premier League to taste victory.
As an import in China, Ighalo would have earned the type of money that would set him up for life but the Nigerian could not miss the chance to play in England’s top flight.
“They [Hebei] were offering me crazy money, but sometimes it’s not just about money – I’m still young, progressing my career. I wanted to play in the Premier League and I’m happy to be part of it,” he told the Mirror.
“I signed a five-year contract last week and I’m not going to fold my arms just because I have security now. I want to work hard, keep improving every day as a striker and help the team achieve their goals.”
Ighalo’s second Premier League strike came via an old-fashioned route-one attack in the 1-0 win over Swansea City.
Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes sent a free-kick onto Troy Deeney’s head and the latter’s knock-down was volleyed into the net by Ighalo.
“As a striker, it’s big relief that we won… because you’re always worried when you are playing and the goals don’t come,” Ighalo said.