The agent of former Nigeria international Odion Ighalo has confirmed Manchester United and Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua have edged closer to agreeing on extending the forward’s loan stint.
As Goal learned on Saturday, negotiations between United and Ighalo’s parent club are continuing and a deal is expected to be reached on Sunday, the day when the player’s loan spell expires following his Premier League return on the final day of the January transfer window.
As time ticked away, Ighalo’s agent Atta Aneke told Norwegian publication Nettavisen: “We are nearing an agreement with Manchester United on an extended loan. The agreement will mean that Ighalo will remain with them until January 2021.”
With the 2020 Chinese Super League season set to start at the end of June or early July, Shenhua were keen to bring Ighalo back but United are now on the verge of keeping the Nigerian for a further seven months following a breakthrough in talks.
United will pay another fee for the striker’s extended stay in Manchester and the new deal means Ighalo would be at Old Trafford beyond the current campaign if the 2020-21 season starts before the end of this year.
Shenhua were willing to make his Manchester move permanent for at least £20 million but United prefer the continuation of a temporary deal due to the attacker’s age, as he turns 31 on June 16. This is despite the striker being impressive so far, scoring four goals in eight games across all competitions.
Last week, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was hopeful of Ighalo staying to “finish what he started.”
“We’re in dialogue. They’ve been great towards us, his club, and allowed him to play for his dream club,” Solskjaer told MUTV. “It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish off what he started, hopefully with a trophy for us. At the moment, nothing has been agreed. Their league is going to get started soon so we’re just waiting to see.”
The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent postponement of football has seen clubs agree to temporarily extend the deals of out-of-contract players so as to allow them to play out the season.
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