Manchester United are to pay Shanghai Shenhua £6m in order to extend Odion Ighalo’s loan deal until January 2021, while covering at least a third of the striker’s wage packet.
Ighalo joined United in January, scoring four times in eight appearances before the coronavirus brought football to a near-universal halt.
His loan move was due to expire on 31 May, but United confirmed on Monday that a deal had been reached between the two clubs to keep the striker at Old Trafford for the remainder of the 2019/20 season and the first half of the following campaign.
Seen as a short-term, budget option, the Times have reported that the Red Devils will pay Shanghai a loan fee of £6m for the extension, in addition to covering around one third of Ighalo’s £300,000 per week wages.
The Mirror claim the amount United will pay is actually £130,000 per week, while adding that there is not option to buy at the end of the loan, which has a total cost of £10.5m.
Prior to the official announcement, Shanghai had been proving to be stubborn negotiators, stating they would only accept a permanent deal for the Nigerian international, who they valued at £20m.
However, the uncertainty surrounding when the Chinese Super League will resume, coupled with the fact Ighalo is not allowed into the country at the moment due to China’s current strict border laws, meant Shanghai’s stance softened, and a formal agreement was reached.
The former Watford man was initially brought in on transfer deadline day as cover for Marcus Rashford, after United’s first choice forward suffered a back fracture against Wolves in January.
Ighalo was primarily used in the Europa League and FA Cup, and with United still in both competitions and facing the prospect of nine Premier League matches in the space of six weeks once the top flight resumes, he could still feature heavily for the Red Devils despite Rashford’s return to fitness.
The signing of the 30-year-old was initially mocked as a deadline day panic buy, but Ighalo soon proved to be a shrewd acquisition, popping up with a brace and turning in a man of the match performance against Derby in the FA Cup fifth round.
Shanghai have offered Ighalo a new year four-year deal, which they still expect him to sign once his extended loan spell at United finishes.