United forced to release Ighalo?

English Premier League

Manchester United could be forced to release Odion Ighalo before the end of the season, if the Premier League is extended beyond May.

Ighalo arrived at United on transfer deadline day with minimum fanfare and was seen by many as a 'panic-buy' after manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer missed out on his primary targets.

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However, after scoring four goals in his first three starts at the English giants, the Nigeria international has become a firm fan favourite that has seemingly galvanised the squad.

But with his loan agreement with Shanghai Shenhua ending on May 31, The Red Devils may lose out on his services due to the coronavirus pandemic set to extend the season beyond the date.

With the Chinese Super League clubs now returning to training, The Evening Standard claims there was no option to make the deal permanent inserted into the agreement due to his exorbitant wages.

Ighalo is believed to be earning around £300,000-a-week with the Chinese Super League club but with his instant impact at Old Trafford, the club are now mulling the idea of a transfer.

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Solskjaer admitted earlier this month that the door is open for the 31-year-old to remain at the club beyond the six months.

"Odion has come in really well and he will improve and get better," he told the club's website. "But he has qualities we saw in him and needed and we need those qualities for next season."

Now according to a report in The Independent, it appears United have opened talks, as his parent club are closing in on a replacement striker in the form of compatriot Obafemi Martins.

The 35-year-old Martins, who played in the English top-flight with Newcastle between 2006 and 2009 left Shenhua two years ago after scoring 32 goals in 59 games in all competitions.