Talk about the perfect script being put in place.
Having arrived on deadline day on a season-long loan from Shanghai Shenhua, Odion Ighalo has been waiting in the wings to make his mark on the Premier League for Manchester United.
The 5 foot 11 Nigerian missed a glorious opportunity in the dying moments of his debut against Chelsea to open his account for the club, and he will no doubt be champing at the bit to score for the Red Devils – his boyhood team.
And on Sunday afternoon, Ighalo will meet his past, as United take on his former side, Watford, in the top-flight.
Whilst Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have seen Ighalo as a potential impact player, and someone simply to ease the burden on Anthony Martial up top, the Norwegian could surely do with giving the striker his first Premier League start for the club at the weekend.
Ighalo will be more than pumped up at the prospect of playing at Old Trafford for the first time, and add to that the fact of him coming up against his old team, and it’s all set up perfectly for him to steal the show.
As well as obviously requiring the technical quality to succeed, players often need a source of motivation to get them going. It’s perhaps one of the reasons behind why ‘better’ teams often end up losing or dropping points to ‘lesser’ sides.
A home clash against Watford may be seen by the likes of Martial and others as a guaranteed home win, and a fixture where simply going through the motions could be enough to secure a result – after all, the Hornets find themselves rooted in the Premier League’s relegation zone with 24 points from their 26 games.
But the game would mean so much more to Ighalo on a personal level, rather than a professional one. He will be itching to make his Old Trafford debut a memorable one, and his comments about when he played against the Red Devils whilst in a Watford shirt, puts into perspective how much more significant it would be if it was the other way around.
“Yeah, I could remember the game at Old Trafford, we lost 1-0. The game was so emotional for me. I remember Troy Deeney was telling me you have to calm down, because I was eager to score against Man United. There was that passion, because I wanted to create history that I scored against my boyhood club, the club I was supporting when I was young.”
Solskjaer must tap into that “passion” and unleash Ighalo on Sunday. It could be the kick-start he needs to get his United career off and running, and it would be a decision that the Red Devils boss may see become the real difference-maker against Watford.