Manchester United have extended Odion Ighalo’s loan until the end of January, with United agreeing a £6million fee with Shanghai Shenhua and continuing to pay just under half of Ighalo’s £300,000-a-week wages.
The extension comes after problems over the player’s return to China convinced the Chinese Super League club – who will receive a total of £10.5m, with the £6m loan fee and £130,000-a-week salary combined – to let him stay at Old Trafford.
There is no option or obligation for United to buy the 30-year-old striker when his new deal runs out on January 31.
Shanghai had demanded Ighalo’s return after his initial four-month loan at United expired at midnight on Sunday, but both clubs confirmed on Monday that a compromise had been reached.
The breakthrough in lengthy negotiations was helped by a further delay to the Chinese Super League season which still has no start date in place.
United’s hand was also strengthened after China told foreign nationals late last week that there will be no visas allowing them to return to the country until October.
Emergency visas will not be granted for those involved in the Chinese Super League, meaning Ighalo would have been unable to play for Shanghai in the coming months.
In the circumstances, the Chinese club were reluctant to pay more than £1m-a-month for Ighalo when their season, and his availability, are still up in the air.
A statement from Shanghai read: ‘In view of the uncertainty over the opening of the new Chinese Super League season and the uncertainty over foreign aid policy, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua and Manchester United have extended the loan for the Nigerian player Odion Ighalo.’
Shanghai have offered Ighalo a contract extension until 2024 on improved terms of £400,000-a-week, but the player was keen to stay at United – the club he supported as a boy – after scoring four goals in eight games since arriving on loan in January.
Talks have been ongoing in recent weeks and the seven-hour time difference between England and Shanghai is said to have further complicated negotiations as Sunday’s deadline passed.
Ighalo will give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer another option in attack following Marcus Rashford’s recovery from a back fracture, and take the pressure off United to sign a new striker in the transfer window that is expected to open from August until October.