Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo looks set to leave Manchester United at the end of his loan spell this week, with parent club Shanghai Shenhua keen to have the striker back ahead of the start of the Chinese Super League season.
The 30-year-old striker moved to Old Trafford on a six months loan deal in late January from the Chinese based club. His deal was due at the end of this season but the outbreak of deadly coronavirus means he would not stay until the Premier League is concluded.
Ighalo has been a hit at Old Trafford since signing a loan deal on the final day of the January transfer window, scoring four times for his boyhood club.
But his loan spell looks set to end after eight appearances, with his initial deal only penned until May 31. United’s season will now extend well beyond that as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that has caused a suspension to the campaign, with United not playing since their 5-0 demolition of LASK Linz on March 12.
United still have nine Premier League games to play and remain in the Europa League and the FA Cup. They are keen to keep Ighalo until the end of this season and have held discussions with Shanghai Shenhua about extending the loan deal.
According to Daily Star United have opened negotiations with the player’s parent club over the last few weeks but have failed to come to an agreement. Ighalo got his reign started on a bright note having scored four times and assisted one other goal in all competitions so far in the second half of the season.
Chinese authorities are now hopeful of beginning the Chinese Super League season in late June or early July, and as a result his club are keen to have the 30-year-old striker back in the fold.
The initial loan came at a time when the CSL season was yet to begin and China was the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the country is now reporting far fewer cases and there is confidence the 2020 campaign could get underway within the next six weeks.