Barca rejection from Ighalo
Shanghai Shenhua striker Odion Ighalo says he rejected the chance to move to Barcelona in January due to a lack of game time on offer.
The Nigeria international made the move to the Chinese Super League in 2017, joining Changchun Yatai where he impressed, finishing the 2018 season as the division's second top scorer with 21 goals.
That achievement earned him a move to Shanghai in the most recent transfer window, but Ighalo has now revealed he could have made a surprise switch to the Nou Camp on loan after the Spanish champions came calling.
Barca were keen to add to their attacking options in January, with a forward with La Liga experience the preferred choice. They eventually settled on Kevin-Prince Boateng although Igahlo says it could have been him lining up alongside Lionel Messi and co.
However, the former Watford striker says he didn't want to sit on the bench in Spain, turning down the offer in favour of joining Shanghai Shenhua on a three-year deal.
"My agent spoke to me about a loan interest from Barcelona. The club wanted a striker with La Liga experience and someone who understands Spanish football," Ighalo told BBC Sport.
"It was meant to be a six-month loan and strictly as a back-up striker. It was nice to hear that Barcelona were interested and any footballer would be more than happy to take it.
"Bu,t with due respect, I had just finished as the second top scorer in China with 21 goals, I deserve better and didn't want to be a short-term player somewhere.
"We rejected it, it was an easy decision to make and I chose to stay in China by joining Shanghai Shenhua on a longer contract."
Chris Rivers is an experienced reporter who closely follows both Arsenal and Wales Rugby Union team. As well as in-depth football and rugby knowledge, Chris is an avid American Football, Formula One and boxing fan.