Manchester United have officially agreed a deal with Shanghai Shenhua to keep striker Odion Ighalo on loan at Old Trafford until 31 January 2021, which will cover the remainder of the 2019/20 season and the first half of the 2020/21 campaign as well.
The Nigerian international’s existing loan deal had been due to expire at the end of May and there were doubts as to whether he would actually be able to conclude the season with the club he supported growing up.
Formerly of Watford, Ighalo joined United as a relief option primarily for FA Cup and Europa League games and scored four times in eight appearances prior to coronavirus shutting down football.
The club have described the news as a ‘timely boost’ for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of the restart of the Premier League season later this month.
Speaking back in February about what had been a surprise January deal, Ighalo said, “It's a dream come true because since I was a kid I followed and dreamt of Manchester United. But it is a reality now.
"Obviously, I am happy to be in Manchester first of all. This is a great opportunity for me and I am grateful to God, and to my agent, and the coach who has given me this opportunity to be here.”
There is, however, contrasting information around whether or not United have an option to make the deal permanent. BBC Sport's Simon Stone, upon the revealing of the news, suggested that the move does not include any kind of agreement.
But over in Italy, everybody's favourite journalist Fabrizio Romano, after he'd told us 'here we go', claimed that United do have the opportunity to sign Ighalo permanently, should they want to. Time will tell on that one.