Odion Ighalo's loan spell at Manchester United could be extended
Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo could see his loan deal at Manchester United be extended. Ighalo's deal is set to expire on Sunday and he was earlier expected to return back to parent club Shanghai Shenhua, who have offered him a new contract worth more than £75m over four years. Here are further details on Ighalo.
Shanghai Shenhua are now open to let United keep Ighalo until January. Border restrictions may prevent Ighalo from returning to China in time for the start of the new season in June. Therefore, if he can't return, the club will look to bring in a temporary replacement. Meanwhile, United remain in talks with the Chinese club about extending Ighalo's loan.
Earlier, it was reported that Shanghai Shenhua would only agree to extend Ighalo's loan if an obligation to buy was incorporated into the deal. Ighalo would be likely to cost upwards of £20m. United manager Solskjaer is focusing on longer-term targets, instead of short-term solutions. He is keen to having a forward line filled with youthful energy. That's where a 30-year-old Ighalo doesn't fit the bill.
According to a report in Sky Sports, it is thought Shanghai Shenhua will expect Ighalo to sign a new contract with them as a condition of him being allowed to extend his stay at United. Ighalo's current deal in China runs until December 2022. He has been offered a new contract worth £400,000 a week and would run until December 2024.
In the build-up, Manchester United had failed to agree a loan extension with Shanghai Shenhua after rounds of negotiations. This led to reports of Ighalo needing to return to the Chinese Super League after his loan deal expires on May 31. Ighalo is keen to stay at United and has been training. Shanghai wanted Ighalo and were insistent the player returns as planned.
The Premier League 2019-20 season is set to resume from June 17 onwards. United have nine matches left. Also, the club is alive in competitions such as the Europa League and FA Cup. United have Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood as strikers. However, in Ighalo, United get another dimension, besides physical power. Ighalo has netted four times in eight matches across competitions for United.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful the club can extend his loan spell so he can "finish off what he started". "The loan deal went until the end of May now, so obviously he's supposed to be going back," Solskjaer told MUTV. "We're in dialogue. They've been great towards us, his club, and allowed him to play for his dream club."
"It's been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish off what he started, hopefully with a trophy for us. At the moment, nothing has been agreed. Their league is going to get started soon so we're just waiting to see," Solskjaer added.