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‘Ighalo is still an important striker for us,’ says Mazzarri

Watford have no plans to cash in on Odion Ighalo in January as Walter Mazzarri confirmed the striker remains an important member of his stable of strikers.

The Hornets have had three offers for the Nigerian in the last 18 months – two from clubs in China and one from Manchester United – while West Bromwich Albion, who Watford meet on Saturday, wanted him to be included in any deal for Saido Berahino last summer. Ighalo’s form and value have dipped since and Watford, privately, may regret not cashing in on him when the bids, as were the case with United and Shanghai, started getting above £30m. The plan, under the Pozzos, is always to sell when a player reaches his optimum value.

Picture by Franziska Empl
Picture by Franziska Empl

Watford plan to do minimal business in January and with limited time to get in a replacement, they will certainly not entertain any offers for the Nigerian, no matter how far down the pecking order he is. The situation will be reassessed in the summer when Watford can plot their transfer activity with the comfort of a third year’s Premier League money. Until then, Ighalo faces a fight with Stefano Okaka and Isaac Success to get in the team alongside Troy Deeney, his old sparring partner.

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“I speak about what I know and I speak about what I have seen so far this season,” Mazzarri said. “Ighalo is a player that I like and I trust very much. When he was in a good condition at the beginning of the year he played, and started the games. Of course he is a player that we need.

“He is in competition at the same level with all the other strikers, and if we want to grow as a club and in the future go further in competitions, then you need to have at least six important strikers and Ighalo is one of them.”