There has been a big step forward in negotiations between Manchester United and Shanghai Shenhua regarding a possible extension of Odion Ighalo’s loan deal.
The original terms of the Nigerian striker’s United contract are due to expire this weekend and, earlier in the week, it appeared that Ighalo would be heading back to the Chinese Super League side.
However, it is understood that talks have progressed in the last few days and there is hope that an agreement can be reached before the weekend.
Shenhua wanted Ighalo back by the end of May to begin preparations for the return of the CSL and view Ighalo as an integral part of their squad.
The Shanghai outfit were, however, open to talks over a permanent deal for the 30-year-old instead of a loan extension – something United were not keen on pursuing as he does not fit the criteria for incoming signings.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward would prefer players aged around 23 or 24 and, as such, forwards such as Timo Werner and Moussa Dembele are seen as targets who fit better.
Consequently, talks had reached a stalemate casting doubt on Ighalo’s short-term Manchester United future but sources close to the deal have indicated that progress has been made and Shenhua are now more receptive to the loan extension talks.