Manchester United are close to extending Odion Ighalo’s loan until January, reports say. The Red Devils have until Sunday to come to an arrangement involving the Shanghai Shenhua striker. And it’s looking increasingly likely that he’ll be staying at Old Trafford.
Manchester United have seen Ighalo impress since joining on loan.
Many were critical when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer chose to go after the 30-year-old on the final day of the January transfer window, having missed out on Erling Haaland and Josh King.
But Ighalo has repaid United for their show of faith, finding the net four times from his first eight appearances.
The Red Devils have until the end of Sunday to agree an extension for the Nigeria international, with Solskjaer keen for him to stay.
And Sky Sports say United are close to keeping Ighalo until January, where he’ll return to the Far East.
The Nigeria international has a massive contract waiting for him in China but, now he’s staying at United, it’s unclear if he’ll get round to signing it.
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The terms may even change, with Shanghai previously keen to have him back in time for the start of the new Chinese Super League season.
But Ighalo is a boyhood United fan and has stressed in talks that he’s eager to keep fulfilling his childhood dream of playing at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils feel he’s a positive influence on the young players inside the dressing room.
And Ighalo is now set to be playing second fiddle to the likes of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood for the rest of the season – and the next.
Meanwhile, former United striker Dimitar Berbatov has opened up on Ighalo’s future and the dilemma his old side have.
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And he backed the Nigeria international to stay and shine, telling Betfair: “It is looking like Ighalo will be going back to China, but hopefully, for United’s sake they can agree on an extension.
“He deserves it, he has done great at United and he surprised many people with how he played in such a short time.
“I’m sure he wants to stay, but now it’s about if the two teams can come to an understanding, but it’s also a money factor as they will offer him a lot of money to go back.
“If he stays he will score goals, of that I am sure. In the small time he was playing, he played the right way and was playing well with team-mates.
“I’m not sure if he was the first option ahead of Martial and Rashford, but when he did play he did a fantastic job. It comes down to if Ole needs his services, or if they find someone else, if he stays it’s good news.
“United need to know what is happening with him. If they know they will lose him, they need to find someone else to replace him.
“If they haven’t already found a replacement, they need to find someone quickly, but if he stays his teammates get on well with him and he has Premier League experience which is a big plus.
“For nine games, if they could come to an understanding and then he can go back, this would be the best option.
“If a team is losing a loan player because of the situation, the federation should allow a team to get someone else because of the situation.
“If Ighalo goes, United should be allowed to get a replacement, they are in a great place going into this final part of the season and they have a great chance of getting top four, but it will be very difficult as no one wants to join for nine games.
“The best scenario is for them to come to an agreement to keep Ighalo for the few games.
“Otherwise they will lose out on a player that can score goals in the race for the top four.”
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Published at Sun, 31 May 2020 11:49:00 +0000