The 30 years old Nigeria international striker will stay with Manchester United until January 2021. The deal between Ighalo’s parent company Shanghai Greenland Shenhua happened after several months of negotiation. Sports journalist Fabrizio Romano commented about the deal: “Odion Ighalo’s loan to Manchester United will be extended until January. Total agreement reached with Shanghai Shenhua. The player has pushed to stay and the Chinese club just accepted United conditions to extend his loan. Official soon. Here we go!” Ighalo debuted with the Red Devils in the Premier League in January this year and scored four times in 8 matches. The Premier League season is expected to resume on 17 June.
Shanghai Shenhua is one of the most valuable football team in China, its home is the Hongkou Football Stadium which has a hosting capacity of 30,000. The origins of the club have been traced to date as far as 1910 under the name East China, making it one of the oldest football clubs in China. Throughout the nineties, the Chinese Football Association made a significant plan to professionalize its team for them to become more competitive and more attractive. The club became officially a full professional club in 1993.
Ighalo was set to return to the Chinese Super League at the end of May, the competition schedule was uncertain because of the pandemic. Manchester United said: “The Nigerian striker’s stay was initially due to end on 31 May but he will now remain with the Reds until 31 January 2021, enabling him to build on an impressive start to life with the club he supported as a boy.” The player will miss most of the Chinese Super League season which is expected to start this summer.
Ighalo has joined the Chinese super league in 2017 with the club Changchun Yatai for a reported £20 million, before moving onto Shanghai Greenland Shenhua. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, manager of Manchester United said about Shanghai Shenhua: “They [Shanghai Shenhua] have been great towards us, his club, and allow him to play for his dream club,” and added that “It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish off what he started, maybe with a trophy or two.” Shanghai Shenhua has no intention of selling the player, and his latest performance with Manchester United is a good reason not to.
Time for some Odion Ighalo highlights with Shanghai Shenhua: