Ighalo set for Manchester United exit, loan extension talks stall

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Former Nigerian international and Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo

Former Nigerian international Odion Ighalo is set to leave Manchester United this week unless there is a last-minute breakthrough in negotiations with his parent club Shanghai Shenhua.

The 30-year-old arrived at Old Trafford in January on a loan deal until the end of the season, with his his short-term contract set to expire on May 30.

The suspension of football due to the coronavirus pandemic and the consequent delay to ending the season has seen all Premier League teams agree that clubs can temporarily extend contracts of players whose deals are coming to an end this summer.

United are keen to keep Ighalo until the season is resumed and played to a completion, but there has yet to be progress in negotiations with Chinese Super League side Shenhua as they want to have the ex-Nigeria international back to begin preparations for the resumption of the Chinese Super League.

There is no definitive date for action to resume in China, but a lack of squad depth means Shenhua see Ighalo as a key part of their squad.

Llifelong United fan Ighalo wants to extend his stay at Old Trafford and Shenhua would be open to selling the former Nigeria international if United make a reasonable offer, but the Red Devils are looking elsewhere for a long-term reinforcement.

The deadline day deal to bring Ighalo to United in January was widely criticised, but he has impressed during his time in Manchester, scoring four goals in three starts for the club.

United’s players returned to training at the club’s Carrington base last week after the go-ahead was given for socially distanced sessions.

 

Chidi Nwoke.