Manchester United hoping to extend Odion Ighalo's loan beyond May until the end of the season

Mike McGrath
Manchester United's Odion Ighalo celebrates after the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Sunday, March 8, 2020 - AP

Manchester United will hold talks with Shanghai Shenhua over extending Odion Ighalo’s loan until the end of the Premier League season. 

The 30-year-old’s deal at Old Trafford expires at the weekend but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants the striker in his squad for the matches delayed by the coronavirus pandemic bringing football to a halt. 

Ighalo took a paycut to seal a short-term move in January to the club he supported as a child, with sources close to the Nigeria international wanting a breakthrough in discussions. 

United’s deal for him to bolster Solskjaer’s squad for four months cost £4 million in wages and a loan fee to Shanghai and an extension will rest on thrashing out terms to see him through until at least July.  

"The loan deal went to the end of May, so obviously he's supposed to be going back," said Solskjaer. "We're in dialogue and hopefully (he can stay). They've been great towards us, his club, and allow him to play for his dream club.

"It's been been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish off what he started, maybe with a trophy or two. But at the moment nothing's been agreed yet. Their league is going to start soon so we are just waiting to see."

Ighalo is in Solskjaer’s plans for the remaining nine Premier League games of the season and also for their attempt at winning the FA Cup. UEFA have not decided on when the Europa League will be played but two of his four goals have come in that competition. 

United has turned to the former Watford striker after a late move for Josh King collapsed and he found himself their No 1 target on deadline day. 

Ighalo pushed for the move despite taking a reduction in wages, since revealing the conversation with his agent. "I said 'I don't care. I don't care how much is the pay cut, I know that, make it happen’,” he said.  

Ighalo arrived to cover for a serious back injury to Marcus Rashford but United are optimistic of having the England striker back, along with Paul Pogba, following a foot problem. 

Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford - PA

"They're looking good, they've joined training now and they've done everything the other boys have been doing. No reaction so far, touch wood," Solskjaer said. "When we get started, it looks like we can have a full squad to choose from.

"We're back in training which has been great. The boys have been fantastic, the weather's been good and they've enjoyed it.

"Hopefully now we've proved we can do this safely and we can move to the next step. It's been really enjoyable being on the training ground again.

"Everyone's looking sharp, everyone's been in with a good mood and we've been splitting up in groups so [working in] fours and fives together and they've really done well.

"Hopefully, they can as I said, step up and go to bigger training groups but so far it's been good."