Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo wants his loan spell, which is due to expire at the end of this month, extended for the remainder of the Premier League season, whenever that may be. World football has been suspended since the coronavirus became a pandemic in mid-March. There are suggestions that the season will resume in June.
The Chinese Super League was postponed in February with rumours suggesting that it will return in late June and could be without foreign stars that play in the league, with Ighalo possibly one of those. The 30-year-old was seemingly over the moon to sign for United and actively pushed to get the loan spell actioned back in January.
Ighalo has made a total of eight appearances for this club so far this season, scoring four goals and a further assist, which is a good return from so few matches. If the coronavirus pandemic had not happened and football had played on, he could have perhaps been on double figures at this moment in time, perhaps he might if he finishes the season at United.
The Nigerian is the type of player that United should be seeking to sign permanently as his experience will help the likes of Anthony Martial. Marcus Rashford, and Mason Greenwood learn and his presence in the box is something else, or has been when he has played this season. However, a new contract offer from his Chinese club may scupper that.
There is a chance that Ighalo would accept a pay cut to stay with United permanently with him currently on around £300,000 a week in China and may have to do with less than half of that to stay at United. I sure, as a supporter of the club, and the fact he ensure this loan spell would happen, it would be something that he thought about.
The Premier League might bring in a 2019/20 loan extension, which would be similar to the system they may bring in to cover those players that will be free agents from the 1 July this year. It would mean that contract of players affected would run until the end of the day of which the final match of the season would be played.
Of course, this sort of thing would need to happen but as far as loan spell, obviously the parent club would need to be in agreement, so it does not mean that United will keep the Nigerian for the remainder of the season. As the player reportedly wants to stay longer, it might be something easy for the Chinese club to agree upon. Ighalo, speaking to the BBC, has said:
“I would like to finish the season if it’s possible. I was in good form, good shape, scoring goals and now we’ve stopped for over a month. I’ve given it my best and hopefully we’ll come back to play.
“The team had a good momentum before the pandemic started. At the moment I’m on loan, and this will cut short my time at the club.
“The club, myself, every footballer is going through a lot because we can’t do what we love and what we know how to do best, so we’re just thinking about that for now and to finish the season before we start thinking about the contract.”
There will be a number of players in the same circumstance as Ighalo and other Premier League teams will be hoping to keep players until the season finally ends. Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos, Everton’s Djibril Sidibe and Newcastle’s Nabil Bentaleb will be some of the others that will be affected. With travel likely to be a problem, they might all get to stay.