• Transfer news

Nigeria striker set to join Saudi Arabia champions after AFCON snub

Getty Images

Odion Ighalo is on the verge of leaving Al Shabab mid-season.

Saudi Arabian club refused to release Odion Ighalo for the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this winter. Since his move from Chinese side Shenhua, the Nigerian striker has become a key figure in Al Shabab’s attacking line.

However, Ighalo is now on the verge of joining Al Shabab’s league rivals Al Hilal. According to Sky Sports Journalist Fabrizio Romano, the former United star has agreed to join the Saudi Arabia champions on a one-and-half-year deal.

Al Hilal terminated the contract of their French striker Bafétimbi Gomis last week. The club are hoping to find an instant replacement in Ighalo.

The Nigerian star is leading the Saudi Arabian top-flight’s goalscoring charts, having found the net 12 times in 18 matches. He will join an Al Hilal side who are struggling to defend their league title.

The Riyadh side sit fourth in the Saudi Pro League, three points behind third-place Al Shabab. Al Hilal will most likely have Ighalo at their disposal by the start of the upcoming Club World Cup tournament.

A move mid-season could be a sign of Ighalo’s frustration with Al Shabab’s refusal to release him for the AFCON. Even without the in-form striker, the Super Eagles showed little sign of offensive problems during their campaign. However, a shocking last-16 defeat against Tunisia ended their dreams of winning the title.