Odion Ighalo
Timothy Fosu-Mensah of Manchester United and Odion Ighalo of Watford battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Watford at Old Trafford on 2 March 2016 in Manchester, EnglandGetty

Manchester United have surged ahead of Arsenal in the race for Odion Ighalo in the summer. The Red Devils are in the market for a striker and have earmarked the Watford centre-forward as the man to take them back to winning ways.

The Sunday People states that the Red Devils will make a move for the player irrespective of who is in charge in the summer, with Jose Mourinho rumoured to be the man being vested with the responsibility to bring United back on track after the current season. The report states that Mourinho is an admirer of the Nigerian and will press ahead for a move in the summer should he be appointed at Old Trafford. Ighalo is expected to be available for a fee in the range of £20m ($28m), a reasonable deal given the dearth of potent strikers in the market.

United will face competition from Arsenal, who are also on the lookout for a striker to alleviate their problems up front, with Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck unable to live up to expectations. The Gunners have not won their last five games in all competitions and their poor form has been attributed to their profligacy in front of goal, which has all but retired them from the title race.

United have an advantage in that Ighalo is a childhood Red Devils supporter, having grown up seeing the likes of Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke operate at Old Trafford. The striker recently stated that he would prefer a move to Manchester over the allure of north London.

Ighalo has been in brilliant form this season, scoring 14 goals thus far in the league, but has tailed off in recent weeks, failing to score in his last seven attempts in all competitions. His last goal came against Nottingham Forest in the fourth round of the FA Cup, coming in as a second half substitute. However, his recent drop in form will come as a major problem for Quique Sanchez Flores, who has all but secured Watford's position in the Premier League, sitting pretty on 37 points, 13 points off the drop zone.