William Troost-Ekong has disclosed that former Nigeria teammate Odion Ighalo played a key role in his transfer to Championship side Watford.
After two seasons at Serie A outfit Udinese, the 27-year-old joined Vladimir Ivic’s side on a five-year deal for an undisclosed amount.
The defender will now link up with compatriots Isaac Success and Tom Dele-Bashiru at Vicarage Road.
Troost-Ekong was linked with a number of European clubs across Europe, but ultimately decided that Hertfordshire had the best project for him to fulfil his ambition of featuring in the Premier League.
The Super Eagles star revealed that the Manchester United striker helped him choose his next destination.
“Ighalo used to be my roommate. I spoke to Odion last week. He only had good things to say about the club. He’s a great guy, a fantastic player and like a big brother for me,” the ex-Haugesund and Bursaspor star told the club’s media team.
Just like Troost-Ekong, Ighalo joined Watford from the Italian topflight outfit – helping them win promotion to the English elite division in the 2014-15 campaign.
After three seasons in England, he was snapped up by Chinese outfit Changchun Yatai for £20m, however, he switched to Shanghai Shenhua following their demotion to the lower league.
The 31-year-old arrived in Manchester from the Chinese Super League club on a temporary loan deal on the final day of the January transfer window, to provide Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with cover for the injured Marcus Rashford, who was sidelined with a back issue.
Thanks to a string of impressive showings, his deal was until January 2021.
Troost-Ekong will be in contention to make his debut when Ivic’s team travel to the Madejski Stadium to face Reading on Saturday.
The Hornets are fifth on the Championship log having accrued seven points from three games, with their latest game a 1-0 victory over Luton Town thanks to Joao Pedro’s 35th-minute strike.
Born and raised in the Netherlands, the 27-year-old started his professional career in the Dutch elite division with Groningen and Dordrecht before heading to Gent and Haugesund.
He is expected to play a crucial role in the team’s return to the Premier League.