On-Loan Manchester United Ace Set For Extended Stay At Old Trafford: Should Ole Sign Him Permanently?

Odion Ighalo of Manchester United gives his teammates instructions during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Watford FC at Old Trafford on February 23, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

According to a recent report by Sky Sports, Manchester United centre-forward Odion Ighalo, who is currently on loan from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, is set to extend his stay at Old Trafford until June 30. The same source has also revealed that the Red Devils have the option to sign the Nigerian striker permanently when his current loan deal expires on May 31.

Ighalo’s Impressive Loan Spell At Old Trafford

Since joining the Mancunian giants on loan on the deadline day of the January transfer window, Ighalo has been a sporadic presence in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team. He has been heavily involved in the cup competitions but has only managed to earn 30 minutes of playing time in the Premier League.

To his credit, the Super Eagles striker has scored four goals and provided one assist in eight appearances for Man United this term on all fronts which goes to highlight his impact at the Theatre of Dreams. He has averaged 2.7 shots, 2.0 key passes and 1.7 dribbles per game in the three UEFA Europa League matches he has featured this season (stats via whoscored). His form in Europe has been nothing short of sensational, which is why the Red Devils should consider keeping him at the club for the next season at the very least.

The 30-year-old has also earned 35 senior caps for the Nigerian national team while netting 16 goals for his country in the process. He is expected to play a key role for the Super Eagles in the upcoming edition of the African Cup of Nations which is still scheduled to kick off in January despite the recent COVID-19 outbreak.

Odion Ighalo of Manchester United applauds fans after the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg match between Club Brugge and Manchester United at Jan Breydel Stadium on February 20, 2020, in Brugge, Belgium. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

What Does The Nigeria International Bring To The Table?

Ighalo is still one of the quickest players in the Premier League and is not shy about turning on the afterburners to beat his marker in the final third. He can also use his incredible upper-body strength to overpower the opposition and cause all sorts of problems inside their penalty area. The ex-Watford striker is also an excellent finisher in front of goal but father time is catching up with him. So there is a chance that he might be on the decline which raises some concerns if Man United decide to sign him permanently later this year.

Should The Red Devils Make Ighalo’s Loan Deal Permanent?

Ighalo can get into some dangerous positions in the attacking third of the pitch which has made him such a good fit for Man United. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense for Solskjaer to consider recruiting him permanently at the end of his loan contract. Even though Ighalo won’t be a long-term solution to Man United’s attacking problems, he will be a fantastic addition for the Red Devils ahead of the new season.

Solskjaer needs a strong squad if he wants his players to challenge for multiple trophies in the coming years. For that to happen, a player of Ighalo’s experience and skill set would be a useful presence in the Man United dressing room as he should be able to mentor and inspire some of the younger players like Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong and Daniel James at Old Trafford.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.