Dimitar Berbatov believes there should be a transfer rule change in the scenario Odion Ighalo’s Manchester United loan spell is not extended.
Ighalo’s deal at United runs out on May 31 and the expectation is that he will return to parent club Shanghai Shenhua for the new Chinese Super League season, despite wanting to remain in Manchester.
The deadline day signing of the Nigerian striker raised plenty of eyebrows across the football world as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer desperately scoured the transfer market for short-term attacking options.
But Ighalo’s fleeting spell at United has been fruitful and he has become an instant fan favourite with his passion for the club shining through in his performances.
Unfortunately, it appears the striker has now played his last game in the red shirt with the Premier League set to be concluded long after his loan spell expires.
Former United striker Berbatov believes United should be allowed to find a replacement for Ighalo for the remaining games of the season.
“If a team is losing a loan player because of the situation, the federation should allow a team to get someone else because of the situation,” Berbatov told Betfair, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
“If Ighalo goes, United should be allowed to get a replacement, they are in a great place going into this final part of the season and they have a great chance of getting top four, but it will be very difficult as no one wants to join for nine games.
“The best scenario is for them to come to an agreement to keep Ighalo for the few games, otherwise they will lose out on a player that can score goals in the race for the top four.”
The loss of a back-up striker of Ighalo’s quality will be a blow given the need for rotation as United are still challenging on three fronts this season. But his loss will be offset by the return of talisman Marcus Rashford who was totemic under Solskjaer before his injury in January.
Solskjaer has confirmed that he has a fully-fit squad to select from ahead of the Premier League’s return.