Femi Solaja with agency report
The quest of former Super Eagles forward, Odion Ighalo, to transform his loan spell into a permanent deal with Manchester United has hit a dead end as parent club, Shanghai Shenhua yesterday demanded his return to China for the new Chinese Super League season starting next month.
Just two days ago, his ambition for longer stay at Old Trafford suffered a hitch when Manchester United legend and influential football pundit, Gary Neville, advised his former club to snub the £20million demand by the Chinese side for a permanent deal for Ighalo.
The 30-year-old’s contract is due to expire on 31 May but may enjoy extension to the end of the 2019/2020 season due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused the English Premier League season to drag beyond the usual early early May to end.
Now, a restart to the season is expected to begin on June 1.
UK’s Evening Standard reported yesterday that Man Utd’s attempts to extend his loan have hit a wall.
Ighalo secured a ‘dream’ loan move to Old Trafford late in the January transfer window. And while the move was questioned and criticised by many, the Nigerian has proved to be a valuable addition.
Ighalo has started just three games for the Red Devils, but has managed four goals in these games.
It was noted in March that United were ready to sign him permanently for around £15m, while the striker has also recently admitted that he wants his loan to be extended so that he can remain at Old Trafford until the current season is complete.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘wants’ to keep hold of the former Watford man until the 2019/20 season is over, and the club have attempted to secure a short-term deal rather than a permanent move at this time. However, the report adds that Ighalo ‘could’ have played his last game for United against LASK of Austria in the Europa League as his parent club Shanghai Shenhua are demanding the player’s returns to China for the start of their new season.
Should United wish to make his move permanent, they would have to pay his £20m release clause – although Newcastle have since entered the running for Ighalo’s signature amid talk of a big money takeover.