Updated: Mar 27
Manchester United are ready to sign Odion Ighalo for up to £15million this summer after it emerged the Nigerian striker’s loan runs out on May 31.
Sportsmail can reveal Ighalo’s temporary move from Shanghai Shenhua is set to end a month earlier than most loan deals.
United may have to negotiate an extension with the Chinese club if the Premier League season — on hold until the end of April —continues into June, although world players’ union FIFPro is working on a solution to the contract uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Either way, there is already a willingness at Old Trafford to sign Ighalo permanently after the former Watford striker scored four goals in his first eight matches.
Shanghai are prepared to sell Ighalo and have put a £15m valuation on the player, who will be 31 in June. They did not ask for a loan fee in January because United agreed to contribute £130,000 a week towards Ighalo’s wages of £300,000 a week.
Ighalo was initially seen as a stop-gap signing after United failed with a bid to bring in Bournemouth’s Josh King on deadline day.
However, he has impressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with his performances after having to train alone due to concerns over his arrival from Shanghai at the height of the coronavirus outbreak in China.
Discussing his contract situation at the weekend, Ighalo said: ‘Talking about other things now would not only be selfish but terribly insensitive.
‘The challenge before us is not a football one, but a global one. You can’t put football before health challenges.’
After United’s win against LASK earlier this month, Solskjaer gave an indication that United were interested in making Ighalo’s move permanent. ‘He will improve and get better,’ said the United boss.
‘He has qualities we saw in him that we needed. And we will still need those qualities next season — so let’s see what we will do.’