Odion Ighalo: Manchester United yet to make offer for Shanghai Shenhua striker
Ighalo's loan expires on Sunday; Shanghai Shenhua expect him back for start of season but China has suspended entry of foreign nationals into the country
Last Updated: 27/05/20 7:58am
Manchester United are yet to make an offer to Shanghai Shenhua for Odion Ighalo, but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful the club can extend his loan spell so he can "finish off what he started".
Ighalo's current loan spell is due to expire on Sunday, and United remain in talks to extend his stay at Old Trafford.
Shenhua will only agree to a permanent deal or an extension to his loan that incorporates an obligation to buy. Ighalo would be likely to cost upwards of £20m.
But Solskjaer still has belief an arrangement can be found to allow Ighalo to complete the season with United, the club he grew up supporting as a boy.
"The loan deal went until the end of May now, so obviously he's supposed to be going back," Solskjaer told MUTV.
"We're in dialogue. They've been great towards us, his club, and allowed him to play for his dream club.
"It's been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish off what he started, hopefully with a trophy for us. At the moment, nothing has been agreed. Their league is going to get started soon so we're just waiting to see."
As things stand, on loan Man United striker Odion Ighalo cannot go back to Shanghai Shenhua. China’s borders are closed. On 28 March China suspended entry into the country of foreign nationals. About a third of foreign players in Chinese Super League locked out— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) May 26, 2020
Shenhua expect Ighalo to have returned in time for the resumption of the Chinese Super League season, expected to be at the end of June or beginning of July.
But, as things stand, Ighalo cannot go back because China's borders are closed.
On March 28, China suspended entry into the country of foreign nationals - a measure which has left about a third of foreign players in the Chinese Super League locked out.
Chinese media reported on Tuesday that the ban on foreign entry may stay in place until October.
In March, Sky Sports News reported Shenhua had offered Ighalo a new four-year contract worth £400,000 per week. His current deal expires in December 2022.
Although he may have already played his last game for the club, Ighalo is taking part in training with his United team-mates at their Carrington base.
The Nigerian striker made an impact for United following his surprise Deadline Day move, scoring four times in eight appearances prior to the suspension of the Premier League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer called him "vital" for United as they dealt with Marcus Rashford's prolonged absence due to a back injury.
Analysis: Man Utd 'relaxed' over Ighalo
Sky Sports News reporter James Cooper...
'As far as Ighalo goes, I think there's a relaxed mood from Manchester United. The facts of the matter are that his contract comes to an end on May 31.
'There is a will from Manchester United to keep the player but I think, equally, Shanghai Shenhua would like the player back in China playing for them.
'I think the relaxed attitude comes from the fact Marcus Rashford is now fit and there is less need for Ighalo but, all things being equal, United would like to keep him.'
Sky Sports' Jack Wilkinson...
'When Ighalo joined Manchester United on the final day of the January transfer window, social media was awash with disparaging comments, aimed at both the club and their latest recruit. A sign of the times, perhaps, but on this occasion, there appeared to be reason behind the unrest.
'Bruno Fernandes' big-money arrival in Manchester the previous day elevated expectations to such a level that signing a striker - offloaded by Watford in 2017 - from the Chinese Super League left an understandable sense of anti-climax.
'Critics jumped at the chance to highlight the perceived desperation behind another questionable piece of transfer business, but as the jokes circulated on Twitter, Ighalo quietly went about fulfilling his boyhood dream to play for Manchester United.
'His impact was both instant and impressive, and in the space of six short weeks there was only one person laughing. In 31 minutes of Premier League football for the club, the Nigerian demonstrated a willingness to adopt that focal point at the head of the United attack, something the club has yearned for since Romelu Lukaku's exit last summer.
'Ighalo was so successful in showing United what they were missing that a permanent move to Old Trafford looked on the cards, but recent events mean he may have already played his last game for the club.'