Manchester United could lose Odion Ighalo next month as Shanghai Shenhua want the former Super Eagles striker back for when the Chinese season resumes, Completesports.com reports.
Ighalo has scored four goals in eight appearances since arriving at Old Trafford in January before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
World football governing body FIFA has suggested contracts and loan deals set to expire before this season can be resumed should be extended until the season starts up again.
United have a loan agreement with Shanghai Shenhua to keep Ighalo until May 30 but that is unlikely to cover the end of the campaign following the coronavirus crisis.
Ighalo’s Shanghai contract runs until New Year’s Eve 2021 but United do have the option to buy in the next window, under the terms of his loan deal.
After scoring four goals already United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen for the 30-year-old to stay for the remainder of this campaign and has even admitted that deal could turn into a full-time move.
The Chinese Super League is reportedly due to restart on April 18 following a dramatic reduction in cases of coronavirus.
And according to ESPN United are concerned that Shanghai will make it difficult for them to extend Ighalo’s loan deal despite FIFA’s advice on contracts amid the virus outbreak.
It seems the Chinese club are likely to want Ighalo back in their team for when games get underway.
The Red Devils are reportedly weighing up all their options to land the 2019 AFCON top scorer for at least the remainder of the season.
FIFA said in a statement: “It is now obvious that the current season will not end when people thought it would.
“Therefore, it is proposed that contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end.
“A similar principle applies to contracts due to begin when the new season starts, meaning the entry into force of such contracts is delayed until the next season actually does start.”
Ighalo earns £240,000-a-week with the Chinese Super League outfit.
But the former Watford man is said to be happy to take a £6million hit to his annual salary to make his Old Trafford move to a permanent one.
He knows United chiefs will not stump up the same salary if a deal is done — but as a boyhood fan of the club and the first Nigerian to ever play for them, he has no problem with that.
Following his impressive run of form so far in the Premier League, United are set to turn his loan move into a £15million permanent deal this summer.
Marcus Rashford has stepped up his rehab and is nearing fitness, but it appears Solskjaer will want another top-line front man secured permanently in the summer and there is every chance Ighalo will get his wish.
After the 30-year-old opened his account against Brugge, he bagged an FA Cup double at Derby, and got a wonder-strike to start a five-goal Europa League thrashing over Austrians LASK last month.
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