Eyebrows were raised when the former Watford striker made his deadline day switch from the Chinese Super League side in January, but the 30-year-old quickly made an impression at Old Trafford.
Ighalo not only helped ease the attacking burden, with Marcus Rashford sidelined by a back injury, but the lifelong United fan chipped in with four goals in three starts.
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The coronavirus situation in China meant Shanghai Shenhua had been open to accommodating that loan deal, but the pandemic’s subsequent impact in England means play will now go on beyond the loan’s May 31 expiration date.
Ighalo’s parent club have been reluctant to extend the loan as the Chinese season edges closer to getting under way, but Ighalo’s agent Atta Aneke had told Norwegian publication Nettavisen: “We are nearing an agreement with Manchester United on an extended loan. The agreement will mean that Ighalo will remain with them until January 2021.”
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had earlier said he hoped the club would extend the loan deal.
“The loan deal went to the end of May now, so obviously he’s supposed to be going back,” the United boss said.
“We’re in dialogue and hopefully (he can stay). They’ve been great towards us, his club, and allow him to play for his dream club.
“It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish off what he started, maybe with a trophy or two.
“But at the moment nothing’s been agreed yet. Their league is going to start soon so we are just waiting to see.”