Emma Jemegah, with reports
Chinese side, Shanghai Shenhua has to force Manchester United for fork out $4.4 million (about N1.7 billion) to extend Nigeria striker, Odion Ighalo for another eight months.
The Chinese club, which had insisted that Ighalo must return to them on the expiration of his initial six months loan deal with Manchester United, backed down because of the restriction on foreigners from returning to China amid the Coronavirus crisis.
While Shenhua was looking forward to having Ighalo back when the 2020 Chinese Super League season began in June, the current border restrictions in China had forced them to allow the striker to extend his stay in England until January 2021.
According to ESPN, Man Utd would soon be paying a second loan fee of approximately $4.4 million for the player’s services for an additional eight months.
Man United paid a loan fee when Ighalo moved from Shanghai to Old Trafford in January. The Chinese side had clearly mentioned that a contract extension would be available provided the Red Devils agree to add an obligation to buy in the deal and that could be worthy of at least $24 million.
Ighalo was signed by Man United from Shanghai Shenhua on a temporary loan deal on the final day of the January transfer window as a cover for sidelined Marcus Rashford, who is currently recovering from a back issue.
The Nigerian striker, who had earlier played for Watford in the Premier League had impressed the Red Devils, having scored four goals in eight matches across tournaments before the ongoing 2019-20 season was halted by the outbreak of the deadly virus.
“The Nigeria striker’s stay was initially due to end on May 31, but he will now remain with the Reds until Jan. 31, 2021, enabling him to build on an impressive start to life with the club he supported as a boy. Yesterday’s confirmation was a timely boost for United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as he continued to prepare his squad for this month’s resumption of competitive football,” Man United said in an official statement.
While it was still not sure if the Premier League side was planning to keep him permanently in the near future, Solskjaer said he was keen to have Ighalo in the squad for the remainder of the current season.