Nigerian international Odion Ighalo has extended his loan at United until the end of 2020. Originally expected to return to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua on May 31st will now remain at Old Trafford through the end of this season, and potentially half way through the next.
This is great news for United as depth at centre-forward has been an issue since the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Inter back in the summer of 2019. In what seems like a lifetime ago, Ighalo scored four goals in eight appearances for the reds in all competitions.
Odion Ighalo key cog in trophy push
Odion has been a key cog in United’s push for a second Europa League triumph, netting against Club Brugge and LASK. Before the COVID-19 lockdown, he had scored in each of his last three starts and had become the focal point of the attack in the absence of Marcus Rashford.
The major was clearly pleased with the retention of Ighalo, saying “They (Shanghai Greenland Shenhua) have been great towards us, allowing him to play for his dream club. It’s been a dream for him and hopefully, he can finish what he started and win a trophy with us.”
Once again there seems no option to buy Ighalo at the end of the deal which is a little disappointing given the impact he has made since joining on loan. However, with summer and winter transfer windows looming it is expected that United will dip their toe in the market and sign a more long term solution at the position.
United returned to full training today so getting the Ighalo extension across the line comes just in time to have little or no impact on game preparations ahead of the restart. The fixtures will come thick and fast so having another able body in the squad is a massive boost.
The Premier League is set to return on the 17th June, with Aston Villa v Sheffield United, and Man City v Arsenal. A full slate of games is expected to be played the following weekend, although fixtures are yet to be announced.