Manchester United are reportedly keen to extend Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo’s loan spell at the Theatre of Dreams and have opened dup discussions with Shanghai Shenhua. The 30-year-old has entered the final month of his spell at United and with the Premier League suspended because of coronavirus, he might not play for the club again.
Ighalo joined United during the January transfer window just as the coronavirus pandemic was starting to take hold of the world. The Nigerian has played a total of eight times for the club, playing in the Premier League, the Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League, scoring four goals and one assist.
The Chinese Super League was postponed because of the pandemic and will likely commence in either June of July so there is a possibility that the Chinese club would agree to the player completing the season with United. The Manchester Evening News has reported that United want the Nigerian to complete the season and are relaxed about the striker potentially heading back to the Far East.
If Ighalo is not allowed to continue playing for United after the agreed term of his loan spell, United would have Marcus Rashford back from injury after losing his services back in January due to a back problem, which is one of the reasons for United drafting in the Nigerian in the first place. Journalist Simon Peach has also confirmed United’s desire, stating:
“Manchester United would like to extend Odion Ighalo’s stay at Old Trafford.
“The striker’s loan deal expires at the end of May but an extension for the rest of the season (assuming it restarts) depends on the situation at Shanghai Shenhua.
“He certainly made a decent impact in a short period.
It has also been claimed that the Nigerian, a self-confessed United supporter would like to remain at the Theatre of Dreams permanently but in light of the £400,000 contract that the Shanghai club has reportedly offered him, he would need to take a significant pay cut to spend more time at United. I might be something that he is willing to do, playing a better class of football at the same time.
The Nigerian has also opened up on the advise given by United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since his loan spell at the club commenced. The 30-year-old settled quickly at the Old Trafford club, and has done well since he made his first appearance, scoring four goals and one assist in the eight appearances he has made.
Ighalo has opened up about the things he has learned from former United striker, Solskjaer, a player that made a total of 366 appearances for United, scoring 126 goals and assisting 50 more. The 30-year-old obviously found the guidance interesting and seemed to have learned from it. The striker, speaking to MUTV, stated:
“When I moved to United, I learned a few things from him. During games – there was even a game I scored in, and he said: ‘You should have scored more if you do this or do that’.
“I thought about it and I know if I would have done what Ole said, I would have scored more. He says: ‘You’re a striker, take the chance’.
“So I’ve learnt a lot from him, in terms of positioning and how to do one or two things in a game.
“As a striker, it’s good when a striker is coaching you. And, as a striker, you benefit even more than the defenders.
“He is someone who has scored goals for a long time and has done a lot for United, so it’s good to learn from him.“
It would be good to see more from the Nigerian, even with Rashford back in the team the Nigerian could play a part in the remainder of the season with United still fighting in the Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League, not to mention seeking to find a place in the top four of the Premier League. Shanghai Shenhua would reportedly want £15 million for the player, which is a relatively low fee for his experience.