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Odion Ighalo: I'd love to return to Premier League after China spell

Odion Ighalo has told ESPN FC he would "love" to return to the Premier League in the future after completing a move from Watford to Chinese club Changchun Yatai.

Nigeria international Ighalo, 27, sealed a £20 million switch to the Chinese Super League on deadline day despite interest from other Premier League sides.

"I am looking forward to the challenge of playing in China," Ighalo said. "I know life goes on and I must do what is best for me. My agent, Ladi [Salami], worked hard of sorting my future out and I happy with the deal.

"Of course, if it is possible to come back to the Premier League one day, I would love to do that. It is a great league with so many great teams and the fans are brilliant, so you never know what might happen in the future."

Ighalo joined Watford in 2014 after an initial loan spell and scored 39 goals in 100 appearances, finishing 2015 as the year's top scorer across the top four divisions.

"I have a lot of happy memories from time at Watford, helping them win promotion to the Premier League, scoring goals in the Premier League breaking a lot of records, so they are great memories for me," he said.

"The fans were great to me and I would like to thank them for their support, and I will miss Watford."

Odion Ighalo said he had been a target for West Brom and Crystal Palace last month.

Ighalo said his move to China was not down to money and that he is keen to get back playing regularly after finding his first-team opportunities limited at Watford in the last few months before his departure.

"I need to play more and I want to play every game and that was not happening at Watford this season," he said.

"Don't get me wrong, the money is good in China, but I am going there to play. I have been in Europe now for 10 years and I think playing in China will be a good challenge for me so it was time to go.

"I turned down bigger money last year to go to China, so it is not just about the money. I want to go there and play and make a big effort to be successful."

Watford turned down interest from West Brom and Crystal Palace during last month's transfer window and, although the Nigerian admits he would have preferred to have stayed in the Premier League, he is now gearing himself up for life in China.

"West Brom wanted me but Watford put a price on me that they could not afford and, two days before the close of the transfer window, Crystal Palace tried to sign me too, but were put off by the price Watford put on me," he said.

"Changchun Yatai agreed to pay the price Watford wanted so I am focused on doing my best for them.

"I have been doing some research on them and watching some highlights of games. The Chinese Super League is trying to get better and some teams have signed lots of big players who have played in the Premier League.

"I have played in the Premier League so playing in China will be a different challenge and I just want to play as much as I can and score goals to help my team."

Peter O'Rourke is ESPN FC's transfer news correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @SportsPeteO.

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