Manchester United are working towards extending Odion Ighalo‘s loan at Old Trafford but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been told he may have to do without the striker if the Premier League season resumes, sources have told ESPN.
Ighalo’s initial loan spell is due to end on May 31 and parent club Shanghai Shenhua want him back for the new Chinese Super League, scheduled to start in July.
United are keen to keep hold of the Nigeria international to allow him to feature in the fixtures that have been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, they are reluctant to sign Ighalo permanently — Shanghai’s price tag is around £20 million — and Solskjaer is aware that he may not have the 30-year-old in his squad if the Premier League gets the green light to return.
United are willing to offer a fresh loan fee but it may not be enough to tempt Shanghai. Formal discussions are yet to take place and United will hold off until a plan for the completion of the season is finalised.
Ighalo has been a success after scoring four goals in his eight appearances, but the urgency that prompted the surprise move for the former Watford man on deadline day in January has diminished with Marcus Rashford nearing a full recovery from a back injury.
Rashford has not played since Jan. 15 but his latest scans were encouraging and he has been stepping up his training during lockdown.
United have nine Premier League games remaining, plus outstanding fixtures in the FA Cup and Europa League. Ighalo has started three games since arriving at Old Trafford, scoring in each.