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Ighalo ‘close’ to Man Utd transfer

Odion Ighalo had been set to return to China

LASK v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: First Leg
Odion Ighalo
Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Manchester United’s on loan striker Odion Ighalo may be set for an extension to his deal at Old Trafford.

The 30-year-old Nigerian forward had been expected to return to Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua as the country prepares for the return of its football league following a suspension due to the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan.

United’s current deal with Ighalo runs to the end of May, and the club had anticipated that he would return to China following the completion of the originally scheduled league, with no provision included should the Premier League or the rest of European football also have been suspended.

The Premier League’s Project Restart means that action should kick off again midway through June, and that means that Ighalo is wanted to stay on temporarily to the conclusion of the 2019/20 season.

Ighalo’s agent Ladi Salami said: “On the one hand, the Super Eagle feels very good in Manchester with which it is very close to a salary agreement.

“Negotiations with the Chinese are ongoing and are going well.

“On the other hand, in view of the latest regulations in force in the Middle Empire, it is almost impossible to offer such amounts.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said: “The loan deal went to the end of May now, so obviously he’s supposed to be going back.

“We’re in dialogue and hopefully [he can stay]. They’ve been great towards us, his club, and allow him to play for his dream club.

“It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish off what he started, maybe with a trophy or two.

“But at the moment nothing’s been agreed yet. Their league is going to start soon so we are just waiting to see.”

United have both Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford back in training, so Ighalo’s presence is no longer seen as essential.