Manchester United are preparing to sign Odion Ighalo for up to £15million this summer, according to a report.
The 30-year-old striker was a last-gasp deadline-day signing in January, arriving from Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua on loan until the end of the season.
However, the Daily Mail report that the former Watford man’s temporary deal does not run, as most deals do, until June, but his loan expires on May 31, posing United with a potential problem.
It’s not clear why the deal has been structured that way, but it could have been to save money due to United agreeing to contribute £130,000 a week towards Ighalo’s wages of £300,000 a week.
United would have expected the season to have been concluded by the end of May, but the coronavirus outbreak means that United could feasibly be still playing in June and July if the Premier League season gets the go ahead to be completed.
It means United will have to negotiate an extension to Ighalo’s contract and world players’ union FIFPro are working on a solution to the contract uncertainty caused by Covid-19.
Whatever happens with the season, the report claims “there is already a willingness at Old Trafford to sign Ighalo permanently”.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently hinted as much, after Ighalo impressed and hit four goals in his first eight matches for the club.
“Odion has done really well when he’s come in and he’s enjoying himself,” Solskjaer said.
“He will improve and get better, but he has qualities that we saw in him that we needed and we’ll still need those qualities for next season so let’s see what we do.”
Shanghai, who did not receive a loan fee for the player, are prepared to sell Ighalo and have put a £15m valuation on the player, per the source.
Ighalo said: ‘Talking about other things now would not only be selfish but terribly insensitive.
‘The challenge before us is not a football one, but a global one. You can’t put football before health challenges.”