Manchester United’s wish to extend Odion Ighalo’s loan beyond next Monday is set to be rejected, with Shanghai Greenland Shenhua unwilling to allow the striker to finish the Premier League campaign at Old Trafford.
While the top flight could return in June following its suspension because of the coronavirus crisis, talks between United and Ighalo’s parent club have stalled. His deal expires on 31 May and United’s expectation is that the player will be forced back to Shenhua.
The Nigerian was signed on a temporary contract in late January by Ole Gunnar Solskjær and proved a success, scoring four goals in United’s last five matches, including a memorable volley in the 5-0 win at Lask on 12 March.
Yet with China’s Super League expected to begin next month, having been delayed from its usual February commencement, Shenhua want the forward to return. This has caused Ighalo disquiet and while United have not given up hope, Solskjær has Marcus Rashford is fit again after a serious knee injury.
Solskjær had indicated he would like to make the deal for the 30-year-old permanent. “Odion has done really well – we need those qualities for next season so let’s see,” he said in March. It is understood, however, there are now no plans to explore this option.
Ighalo arrived at the same as Bruno Fernandes, who cost an initial £46m from Sporting, the midfielder proving even more impressive than the forward. Ryan Giggs, who won 13 titles at United, believes Fernandes can have as great an impact at the club as Eric Cantona and Robin van Persie did when joining in 1992 and 2012, respectively.
“You talk about the Cantonas, the Van Persies,” the Wales manager told Manutd.com. “I’m not comparing him yet to them but he’s made other players play better and he’s given everyone a lift.”