*Nigeria international, Odion Jude Ighalo celebrating one of his goals for Manchester United before football was suspended in England because of COVID-19
Manchester United are set to agree a new loan deal with striker Odion Ighalo, the player’s agent has revealed. The club remain locked in talks with Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua – Ighalo’s parent club – but are said to be hopeful of agreeing a deal before his current loan agreement expires on Sunday.
And Ighalo’s agent, Atta Aneke, said that while deal has not yet been finalised, the proposed loan extension will run until the end of January 2021, when the 30-year-old will return to Shanghai. ‘We are nearing agreement with Manchester United on an extended loan,’ Aneke told Norwegian outlet, Nettavisen. ‘The agreement will mean that Ighalo will remain with them until January 2021.’
Should a deal be finalised before Sunday’s deadline though, the Nigeria international will miss a large chunk of the new Chinese Super League season, which is due to start in July. Ighalo initially joined Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United in a shock deadline-day move in January after the club had missed out on signing Norwegian star Erling Haaland to Borussia Dortmund. But the former Watford forward has done himself no harm at Old Trafford by scoring four times in eight appearances prior to the suspension of the Premier League due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
His memorable strikes so far in a United shirt have included a stunning volley in the Europa League win over LASK Linz as well as a double in the FA Cup against Derby to help his side through to the quarter-final stage. Ighalo’s current contract in China expires in December 2022, but Shanghai reportedly want to keep him until at least December 2024. Sky Sports have reported that Shanghai’s original stance was that they would only agree to a loan extension if an obligation to buy was inserted into any new deal, with Ighalo likely to cost upwards of £20million.