- Duro Ikhazuagbe with agency report
These are indeed rosy time for former Super Eagles forward, Odion Ighalo, whose football career was presumed to have hit a dead end with his drift to the Far East.
Following the resurgence of his career at Manchester United he joined on loan on January transfer deadline day, his parent club Shanghai Shenhua yesterday
offered Ighalo a new £400,000 (about N190million)-a-week deal to extend his stay in the Chinese Super League.
According to UK’s SportsMail, Ighalo’s performances have been enough to impress the Red Devils hierarchy to want to sign him on a permanent basis for £15million this summer when his loan deal expires on May 31.
But Shanghai Shenhua are hopeful of swaying the 30-year-old with an eye watering package to keep him in the Chinese Super League for another two years, according to Sky Sports.
United’s deal with the Chinese side ends a month earlier than most loan deals, and the club may have to agree an extension if they want to keep him for the remainder of the Premier League season should it continue on through the summer due to the coronavirus.
This could see him stay with United until June 30, with players’ union FIFPro working on a solution to contract uncertainty amid the present football shutdown.
Shanghai were recently prepared to cash in on Ighalo if United could match their valuation of £15m, and a permanent switch to Old Trafford looked on the cards with United happy to pay it.
But now the Chinese outfit are ready to increase his wages from £300,000 per week to £400,000 per week, with a two-year extension that would see him remain with the club until 2024.
Ighalo is said to be flattered by the staggering new contract offer, but he is putting all of his focus on playing for the club he supported as a boy until his loan deal expires.
United started the campaign with just one senior striker as Marcus Rashford was given the task of carrying the club’s attacking threat after Romelu Lukaku was sold to Inter Milan – with no replacement brought in.
Mason Greenwood has helped the cause, scoring an impressive 12 goals in just his second season in professional football, but with the 18-year-old lacking in experience, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought in Ighalo in a temporary switch in January.
Ighalo had Premier League experience from his time at Watford and has a decent track record across his career, but many felt he wasn’t the calibre of player the club were hoping to attract, with the Nigerian entering his thirties and playing in the Chinese Super League.
But he made a fast impact to life at Old Trafford, scoring four in just three starts – including two in the Europa League and two in the FA Cup. His presence in the team has been applauded by Solskjaer, who called him ‘a breath of fresh air’.