It’s looking increasingly likely that striker Odion Ighalo has played his last game for Manchester United.
As reported by BBC Sport, Ighalo is set to return to parent club Shanghai Shenhua at the end of his contract which expires on May 31st.
The coronavirus pandemic means Ighalo’s short loan spell at Old Trafford is set to end before the conclusion of the Premier League season, with suggestions football could resume in June.
Reputable Sky Sports reporter James Cooper provided an update on the Nigerian striker’s future:
“As far as Ighalo goes, I think there’s a relaxed mood from Manchester United. The facts of the matter are that his contract comes to an end on May 31.
“There is a will from Manchester United to keep the player but I think, equally, Shanghai Shenhua would like the player back in China playing for them.
“I think the relaxed attitude comes from the fact Marcus Rashford is now fit and there is less need for Ighalo but, all things being equal, United would like to keep him.”
Ighalo was originally signed as cover for Rashford as United desperately scoured the market for a forward on deadline day. Rashford, United’s talisman, could have missed the rest of the season with a back injury and Ighalo was one of the only attainable loan targets that could provide adequate back up in attacking areas.
Despite plenty of backlash after the signing, Ighalo soon became a cult-hero at Old Trafford with his love for his boyhood club shining through in his performances.
Ighalo scored four goals in eight appearances before the indefinite suspension of English football.
With United still fighting on three fronts when football returns, it would be a great shame to see the fan-favourite leave. Ighalo clearly wants to stay at United and Solskjaer would obviously be keen on keeping him.
But the return of Rashford to full fitness means United’s attacking options are less stretched and the upcoming transfer window is the time to focus attention on a longer-term striker signing.