Odion Ighalo’s loan stay at Manchester United drawing to a close
Nigerian striker wanted by his Chinese club for start of the season
Odion Ighalo’s loan spell at Manchester United is coming to an end. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Manchester United’s wish to extend Odion Ighalo’s loan beyond next Monday is set to be rejected, with Shanghai Greenland Shenhua unwilling to allow the striker’s wish to finish the Premier League campaign at Old Trafford.
While the top flight could return in June following its suspension because of the coronavirus crisis, talks between United and Ighalo’s parent club have stalled. His current terms expire on May 31st and United’s expectation is that the player will be forced back to Shenhua.
The Nigerian was signed on a temporary deal in late January by Ole Gunnar Solskjær and proved a success before the cessation of football, scoring four times in United’s last five matches, including a memorable volley in the 5-0 win at Lask on March 12th.
Yet with China’s Super League due to begin next month, having been delayed from its usual February commencement because of coronavirus, Shenhua want the forward to return. This has caused Ighalo disquiet and while United have not given up hope, Solskjær is relaxed about the prospect as Marcus Rashford is fit again after a serious knee injury.
After the Europa League last-16 first leg win at Lask, Solskjær indicated he would like to make the deal for the 30-year-old permanent. “Odion has done really well – we need those qualities for next season so let’s see,” he said. It is understood, however, that there are now no plans to explore this option.
Ighalo arrived at the same time as Bruno Fernandes, who cost an initial €55 million from Sporting, the midfielder proving even more impressive than the forward. Ryan Giggs, who won 13 titles at United, believes he can have as great an impact at the club as Eric Cantona and Robin van Persie did when joining in 1992 and 2012, respectively.
“You talk about the Cantonas, the Van Persies,” said the Wales manager. “I’m not comparing him yet to them but he’s made other players play better and he’s given everyone a lift.” – Guardian