Manchester United have sealed an extension to Odion Ighalo’s loan deal which will keep him at the club until January 2021.
The striker joined United from Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua on a 5-month loan deal on the final day of the January transfer window, to provide Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with cover for the injured Marcus Rashford who was sidelined with a prevailing back issue.
Odion Ighalo, who previously played for Premier League side Watford, impressed in his eight appearances before lockdown and the consequent postponement of football – scoring four goals in three starts – and the club were keen to extend his loan until the end of the campaign.
Discussions with Shenhua have been protracted, with the Chinese club keen to have their forward back for the start of the Super League Season.
However, after weeks of negotiations, the two clubs agreed on a deal which will see the 30-year-old stay at Old Trafford on loan until the end of January 2021.
United have already had to pay Shenhua a loan fee for the initial five-month spell and it is understood the Chinese side will receive another payment from United for the extended period.
While there have been no discussions to keep the 30-year-old at the club on a permanent basis, Solskjaer has been keen from the start to have Ighalo in his squad for the end of the season.
“It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish off what he started, with a trophy for us,” Solskjaer told MUTV.
The Premier League is set to restart on June 17 and Solskjaer should have a fully fit squad at his disposal with long term absentees Rashford and Paul Pogba both completing their recovery during lockdown.
Ighalo’s loan extension means there will be a fight for places up front as well as in midfield, and it’s a dilemma Solskjaer is looking forward to having.
“Everyone’s looking sharp, everyone’s been in with a good mood and we’ve been splitting up in groups, so [working in] fours and fives together, and they’ve really done well. So far it’s been good,” Solskjaer said in a recent interview “the players returning to training.”