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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Ighalo hoping to extend Manchester United loan as expiration date nears

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The 30-year-old scored four goals in eight games for United before the coronavirus brought football to a halt in March

Odion Ighalo has said he hopes to extend his loan with Manchester United as it nears its expiration date of May 31.

The Nigerian striker joined the Red Devils from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in January and made a strong impression at Old Trafford during his short stint. 

Ighalo scored four goals in eight games in all competitions for United before football was brought to a halt in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As the Premier League eyes a possible return to the pitch in June, Ighalo has said he is keen to at least see his loan extended so he can finish out the season with United.

“I would like to finish the season if it’s possible,” the 30-year-old told BBC Sport.

“I was in good form, good shape, scoring goals and now we’ve stopped now for over a month. I’ve given it my best and hopefully, we’ll come back to play.

“The team had a good momentum before the pandemic started. At the moment I’m on loan, and this will cut short my time at the club.

“The club, myself, every footballer is going through a lot because we can’t do what we love and what we know how to do best, so we’re just thinking about that for now and to finish the season before we start thinking about the contract.

“I just want everyone to be safe and see what the future holds.”

The Premier League is hoping to resume play in June as part of its “Project Restart” initiative, which outlines a number of safety protocols teams must follow as they look to return to the pitch. 

The initiative will, however, require government approval before teams are allowed to begin ramping up training and eventually begin playing matches again.

The English top-flight is currently considering a proposal for all games to take place at neutral venues if the season is to resume, an idea that hasn’t sat well with every club.

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber, in particular, has been an outspoken critic of the plan, saying that it would damage the integrity of the competition.

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