Odion Ighalo: Staying at Man Utd or going back to Shanghai Shenhua?

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In January 2020, long before lockdown was even a thing in the UK, Manchester United secured the loan signing of Nigerian International forward Odion Ighalo (30) from Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenhua in a clever move by Ole Gunnar Solksjaer to bolster United’s attacking options.

A Man who’s playing style would offer Manchester United something different at our time of need, a hold up man who’s more than comfortable playing with his back to goal and can offer us an alternative to our pacey young skillers up top. A good loan signing it proved to be in the very short term as due to the covid-19 pandemic Odion’s loan contract became complicated as it ends today May 31st 2020, 17 days before the premier league is now due to restart.

Nobody at United dealing with Shanghai Shenhua could have foreseen the lockdown and the stoppage of all sport countrywide and so it leaves United in a situation where we may not have Ighalo in our ranks until the end of the season as planned because the end of the season is to resume now at a later date than he was contracted to.

Premier league fans were familiar with Odion from his spell at Watford some years ago where he impressed and received a player of the month award but ultimately moved on to different playing pastures new.

His loan signing in January bought him back once again to the Premier League and at the time was met with mockery by opposition fans stating how the mighty Manchester United had fallen by signing a ‘journeyman’ player like Ighalo. Solskjaer and United’s acquisition of Ighalo however proved to be quite fruitful in the short term, the Nigerian hero chipping in with 4 goals and an assist in 8 appearances in all competitions, Including a lovely well taken goal against Lask Linz highlighting the quality of the player and all the while showing a great ability to hold the ball up and play passionately and happily in a red shirt. After all Ighalo is a boyhood Manchester United fan growing up in Lagos, Nigeria and was clearly relishing this opportunity to represent the Red Devils with pride.

Which brings me to the question. Will Odion Ighalo stay at Manchester United beyond his initial agreed loan move contract terms?

I hope so! As I am sure many fans do because he seems to have a big passion for the club and is a good option to have up top. All the interviews he gave when he joined the club showed a man beaming with happiness and pride to play for such a wonderful football club and the same was displayed out there on the pitch with his attitude and performances in the brief time we saw Ighalo donning a red shirt before lockdown.

It is believed Manchester United and Solkskaer are very keen to keep Ighalo until at least the end of the season as our attacking options are limited though we do have Anthony Martial as the main man at number 9 and Mason Greenwood who could be given the mantle of Martial’s rotation player in that position if Ighalo does go back to China.

Parent club Shanghai Shenhua are rumoured to be firm on wanting Odion Ighalo back at their club. Going as far as to offer Ighalo an extra £75,000 a week to extend his stay there taking his wages to somewhere in excess of £375,000 a week, a figure United simply could or would not pay right now for a player of Ighalo’s stature in world football.

Even though Ighalo’s love for Man Utd is clear, he is a man from humble beginnings in Lagos and surely understands the value of a dollar so perhaps he would find it difficult to turn down a significantly larger contract to play in China. It remains to be seen what will happen with Odion Ighalo’s Manchester United future hopefully we will find out later today or tomorrow…

Do you think a deal can be made and Odion Ighalo can stay at Man Utd Until the end of the season or do you think he will be returning to Shanghai Shenhua soon?

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