Odion Ighalo could be heading back to China at the end of this month as Manchester United’s bid to keep him has been thrown into doubt by Shanghai Shenhua. According to Daily Mail of UK, the Chinese club is demanding £20m for a permanent transfer of the Nigerian striker whose worth is in excess of £20million.

Ighalo is on loan at Old Trafford until May 31 and United are hoping to extend it so he can finish the season in England.

However, Shanghai want their player back in time for the start of the Chinese Super League campaign, which is due to kick off in July, and will only allow him to stay at United if the two clubs can agree a permanent deal.

Ighalo was valued at £15m when he first arrived on deadline day in January for a loan fee of £3m, and United were ready to pay it.

Now Shanghai want significantly more for the 30-year-old former Watford man after he scored four goals in eight games for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

United were waiting to see when the Premier League will restart before opening talks because they have been paying £130,000-a-week to Ighalo’s salary during the two-month shutdown.

But they appear to be preparing for the possibility that he will leave, with club sources highlighting Marcus Rashford’s return to fitness after a back injury that prompted Ighalo’s loan move in the first place.

The player has made no secret of his desire to stay at Old Trafford having supported United as a boy.

‘I would like to finish the season if it’s possible,’ Ighalo said last week. ‘I was in good form, good shape, scoring goals and now we’ve stopped for over a month. I’ve given it my best and hopefully we’ll come back to play.

‘The team had a good momentum before the pandemic started. At the moment I’m on loan, and this will cut short my time at the club.’