Odion Ighalo has revealed that he turned down a fresh, mind-boggling offer from China – because God told him to.
The Nigeria striker had previously disclosed that the rich Chinese made an offer last year, but they returned with an even bigger one recently that could have netted him around an incredible £300,000 a week.
“I have 14 goals in the Premier League, how do I go to China now?” Ighalo, who signed a new five-year deal in September thought to be worth about £30,000 a week, told the Daily Mail.
“I was very close. They made a £10m bid and were offering me over £200,000 a week; a four-year contract. I couldn’t sleep for three days. That kind of money is not easy to turn down. Some team-mates in the dressing room were saying, “You can’t miss this chance”. But I don’t jump into decisions like that.
“I prayed about it, and God said it was not for me, no matter how much money it was. I knew God would direct me. When I said I didn’t want to go, they offered me more money, almost £300,000 a week. I told them it’s not about the money.”
Chinese Super League clubs are on an aggressive recruitment drive, having brought in big names like Ranires and Alex Texeira recently and their transfer window is open until February 26.
Ighalo added: “They have called again and I have turned them down again. Maybe if I keep scoring goals, that team will come with triple the money at the end of the season. When the time is right to go to China I will know. If it’s for me it will come to pass.
“When I was in Ajegunle, I was watching the Premier League, dreaming one day I would be part of it. If I keep doing what I’m doing I can enjoy my football in England for four, five or six years.
“I helped this team to promotion. How can I leave because of money? I know money is good. With that sort of money I can secure my life. But you can’t sell your dream.”
Uber-religious Ighalo explains why he looks to the heavens in supplication whenever he scores a goal.
“Whatever I am now and what I am going to be is through God,” he said.
“I want to return the glory to him when I score goals, and that’s why I go down on my knees, point my hands to the sky and say this goal is dedicated to you. I believe he gave me the strength to score the goals. I don’t care what anyone says about that. I don’t think anything in life will ever stop me believing in God.”
As for the ‘Iggy Scoop’, the deceptive feint he does to get defenders out of the way, he said: ” (Nwankwo) Kanu used to do this at Arsenal. It’s not one of my own, but I’ve been doing it for a long time. I scored a few goals with it in Norway.”