The 30-year-old Nigerian is on loan with the club until the end of May, from his parent side Shanghai Shenhua. He has made it clear that he would like to stay on at least until the end of the season, which is currently suspended due to the coronavirus.
The Chinese Super League is due to restart in July, which would clash with the planned resumption of the English Premier League, which should start back up in some time in June as they race to avoid losing out on broadcast revenue.
The side want Ighalo back, and given they are happy to pay him £400,000 a week to do so, you can understand their reluctance to let him play in England. At the time, the loan would have been an easy way to get him off the wage books while their own league was in doubt.
Shanghai Shenhua are asking for £20 million to let him go on a permanent deal, which may not be possible given United are only paying him half his current salary level, a move which Ighalo accepted in order to facilitate the move. Although he is a fan of the club, he may not be keen to take a hit on his longer term earnings if he is being offered an even bigger fortune elsewhere.
There is a further complication. Should the Saudi Arabian takeover of Newcastle United go ahead, then the new owners are keen on bringing him back to the Premier League permanently, the Sun claims. Quite why either of these sides want to sign him on a permanent deal when he has only scored in the FA Cup and the Europa League is another matter, but that’s not our problem.