Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that he wants to extend the loan transfer of Shanghai Shenhua and former Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo as the Old Trafford step up their fitness to resume the 2019/20 season. At this moment in time, Ighalo is due to leave United at the end of the week.
The Premier League season has been on hold since mid-March with the striker appearing in the clubs last match, which was the 5-0 thrashing of LASK in the first leg of the round of 16 in the UEFA Europa League, which could be his final match for the club. In the time he has been at United, Ighalo made eight appearances, scoring four goals and one assist.
If United failed to extend the loan spell of the striker, he would be saying goodbye to his teammates before the end of the week which would be a shame for him not to help them fight for a place in the UEFA Champions League next season. United are seeking to keep the player until the end of the season, which could be August or September.
Reports state that instead of allowing the player to remain at the Old Trafford club for the remainder of the delayed season, the Chinese club are only willing to listen to offers for a permanent transfer, suggested to be around £20 million, or allowing the player to remain at the club with a clause for a compulsory purchase of the striker.
Personally, I feel this would be good for United, if Solskjaer wants that. However, with reports linking United to the likes of Moussa Dembele from Lyon, a player the club has been tracking for some time, this deal, if United made Ighalo a permanent player for the club, might stop Solskjaer from making a move for the Frenchman. Solskjaer told MUTV:
“The loan deal went until the end of May now, so obviously he’s supposed to be going back.
“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 has not ruled out the Nigerian staying at United this season and the fact that both clubs are in dialogue is a good thing. It would suggest that Shanghai Shenhua have not ruled out the possibility. There has also been reports from Foot Mercato that state Ighalo’s associate, Ladi Salami has stated the player is close to agreement over wages, saying:
“The Super Eagle feels very good in Manchester with whom he is very close to a salary agreement.
“Negotiations with the Chinese are ongoing and are going well.”
This will need to be something United act fast on as the player will be expected back in China this weekend with the Chinese Super League close to starting after it was delayed earlier in the year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully, United will be able to keep the Nigerian, allowing him to play a part in the remainder of the season, as he should have.