(Manchester United Striker Odion Jude Ighalo)
By Marvin Chege
English Premier League club Manchester United have agreed a deal to extend striker Odion Jude Ighalo’s loan spell until the end of January 2021, pending formal approval, as reported by Sky Sports News.
Ighalo joined Manchester United in a deadline day move from Chinese club Shanghai Shenua in January and has scored four times in eight appearances in all competitions, prior to the suspension of the Premier League season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
His current deal at Shenua runs out in December 2022 and he will be expected to sign a contract offer until the end of 2024 worth £400,000 a week.
He will now miss the majority of the 2020 Chinese Super League season, which is scheduled to begin in June.
Shanghai’s original stance was that they would only agree to extend his loan if an obligation to buy was incorporated into the deal, with Ighalo likely to cost upwards of £20m.
However, with border restrictions potentially preventing Ighalo from returning to China in time for the new season, Ighalo’s parent club have softened their stance and have allowed him to extend his stay at Old Trafford.
The news of Ighalo’s loan extension comes at a time when United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said last week that striker Marcus Rashford and midfielder Paul Pogba will be fit for the proposed return of the Premier League.
Rashford was due to miss the rest of the season after suffering a back injury in January, while Pogba had been out since Boxing Day due to a foot problem.
But the pair of them returned to group training ahead of the Premier League’s Project Restart and are making good progress.
“They’re looking good, they’ve joined training now and they’ve done everything the other boys have been doing. No reaction so far, touch wood,” he told MUTV.
“When we get started, it looks like we can have a full squad to choose from.”
The current Premier League season resumes on Wednesday June 17 with Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United and Manchester City welcoming Arsenal.
Both games were previously postponed due to City and Aston Villa’s participation in the League Cup final in February. City were scheduled to host Arsenal before the game was called off after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for COVID 19. The rest of the season had to be called off after Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi also tested positive for COVID 19.
The rest of the games will be played on the weekend of June 19-21 with all matches to be played behind closed doors.