Odion Ighalo’s dream of making his stay with Manchester United may not materialize after all, according to reports from England.
Ighalo went on a short loan stint in January transfer window with Manchester United from the Chinese Super League side, Shanghai Shenhua, and following his impressive performance at Old Trafford, Coach Ole Gunnar Solksjaer have been trying to make his stay permanent.
In March, he said, “Odion has done really well – we need those qualities for next season so let’s see.”
Shanghai Shenhua earlier quoted a £20 million selling price to Manchester United, but the latest development indicates that the Chinese team are no longer keen on a deal.
Ighalo’s loan deal will end on May 31, but the English Premier League has been extended beyond that date by the coronavirus pandemic that forced the suspension of the competition.
There are still nine Premier League games ahead for Manchester United, as well as matches in the Europa League and the FA Cup.
With the Chinese Super League season slated to begin late June or early July, Shanghai Shenhua have asked Ighalo to return to base.
Reports say Manchester United, still keen on keeping Ighalo, tried to negotiate an extension to the loan deal until the end of the season, but the Chinese club turned down the request.
Manchester United was said to be reluctant to sign the 30-year-old Ighalo for the quoted amount especially as the injured Marcos Rashford is back in the fold.
Many people associated with the Red Devils initially had doubts about Ighalo’s ability to deliver for the club, but the former Watford striker soon dispelled such doubts.
Former Red Devils’ striker, Dimitar Berbatov describes Ighalo as the striking ‘bully’ that Manchester United have been crying out for long.
Berbatov admits to being wrong when it comes to the 30-year-old’s value, with it looking as though the Red Devils have pulled off a shrewd piece of business.
He told Betfair in February, “I’m really happy to see that Odion Ighalo is settling in well and he deserves it with the way he is playing, how he links the plays and the goals he is scoring.
“All the team are happy when he scores which shows he is fully integrated, and I like the way he looks for the ball and bullies the defenders.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t know too much about him before he joined, obviously I knew about his record in the Premier League, but I questioned if he was the right man and if he would get into the team, but so far he is doing well and proving me wrong.”
While rejecting Manchester United’s loan extension offer, Shanghai Shenhua will make Ighalo Africa’s highest paid footballer ever with a £400,000 per week contract extension until 2024.