Barcelona tried to sign Odion Ighalo on loan but he declined to stay in China


Barcelona have been known to make the occasional bizarre signing with Alex Song and Thomas Vermaelen coming to mind.

The Catalan side's reputation is so bulletproof that players from all over would give up first-team football to become back up at arguably the best football team in the world.

Lionel Messi and co are on course for yet another La Liga title with a 10 point lead going into the last two months of the season.

Barca's latest obscure transfer was in the form of former Portsmouth and AC Milan forward Kevin-Prince Boateng.

The 32-year-old must have thought that his best years were behind him but a surprise loan deal was arranged between current side Sassuolo and Barcelona seeing the Ghanaian move to the Spanish coast.

But it turns out Boateng was not Barcelona's first choice, in fact former Watford striker Odion Ighalo was the Spanish side's initial pick.

The 29-year-old was in prime position to make the move but amazingly turned down a chance to play for the La Liga title holders.


"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," Ighalo added.

"But 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."

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Ighalo cut ties with Chinese club Changchun Yatai after they suffered relegation last campaign.

"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." 

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You have to admire the stubbornness of the Nigerian and the fact that he values first-team football over anything else.

Yes, he could have won his first European title in his career but how much game time would he have got in the process?

Boateng has only featured twice since signing for Barca and Ighalo - who thought about his career for the long-term - will be no doubt guaranteed first-team football with new Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua.

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