ODION IGHALO MAKES LAST-DITCH SHANGHAI SHENHUA PLEA TO REMAIN AT MAN UTD

Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo is due to return to China next week. But he carries two heavy burdens. The first is the fears of returning to the breading ground of the current coronavirus pandemic.

The second is sporting headache – being cut off from Manchester United, a club he had loved from childhood. It is at the Premiership club that his football career suddenly received a global rejuvenation.   

While the suspended Premiership is due to resume on June 12, the China Super League is resuming next week thus compelling Ighalo to return.

According to sources in UK, Ighalo had made pleas with his parent club Shanghai Shenhua to allow him to extend his stay at Manchester United  after negotiations between the two sides broke down.

The 30-year-old forward has been on loan at Old Trafford since January and has impressed in his brief spell, scoring four goals in eight appearances before football was suspended.

His deal is due to end on May 31, however, which would have marked the end of the season in normal circumstances.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, however, the Premier League season could be set to be concluded over June and July, and as of yet Shenhua and United have not reached an agreement to allow Ighalo to stay for that period.

The loss of Ighalo would come as a blow to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who may be forced to rely on the recovering Marcus Rashford up-front despite the England striker having not played a competitive match since January after injuring his back.

Ighalo himself would also no doubt be devastated if he is unable to continue to prove his worth at United, especially as he has often spoken of his long-running love for the club.

He is now due to speak to Shenhua himself in a bid to convince them to change their minds and come to a resolution with United, but it is thought his chances of success hang very much in the balance.

Shenhua have not played since December due to their domestic season being postponed as a result of coronavirus, which was due to start in February, but will now begin next month.

They offered Ighalo a two-year contract extension earlier this year worth £400,000 per week, but Ighalo would rather stay at Old Trafford.

It was reported that Shenhua would be willing to accept a fee of £20million to part company with Ighalo, but as yet there have been no discussions over a permanent switch.