Odion Ighalo’s tenure at Manchester United will end further than originally expected. The Nigerian forward was scheduled to leave the side at the end of his current agreement on May 30, but such won’t be the case anymore. Instead, the talented forward has extended his agreement and now will remain at the club until January 2021.
The main reason why Manchester United managed to keep Ighalo for a longer period of time was the fact that the player was against leaving Old Trafford. A Manchester United supporter in his early years, Ighalo said time and time again that playing for The Red Devils was a dream come true. Shanghai Shenhua accepted that, and allowed Ighalo to remain on English soil for several more months.
Ighalo’s tenure will eventually end, though. As BBC Sport reported earlier, there is no clause of a permanent move in the current deal. By the time the loan deal expires in January, Ighalo will be forced to return to the Chinese Super League side.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was extremely happy with the news. He highlighted Shanghai’s attitude to reach an agreement that would benefit all parties involved.
“It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish what he started and win a trophy with us,” said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “Shanghai Shenua have been great towards us, allowing him to play for his dream club.”
Ighalo staying could have long-term implications for Manchester United
This move also has an impact on Manchester United’s transfer plans ahead of the 2020-21 season. The club was in dire need of a striker and names such as Joshua King and Moussa Dembele were linked with moves to Old Trafford. That, however, might wait a bit longer now. For the time being, Ighalo can be the backup of both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
That’s fine with the 30-year-old. He is experienced enough to adjust into a secondary role if needed. Plus, the playing time will certainly be there for him. Especially considering how packed the football calendar will be in the coming weeks once the Premier League resumes in mid-June.
Ighalo has scored four times in eight appearances for the Old Trafford side this season. He will now have the chance to boost his account in the coming months. And who knows? Maybe he can leave a good mark in the history of the club as a successful short-term loanee. Ighalo is yet to score a Premier League goal, but that will surely change before the season wraps up.
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