Odion Ighalo has made a personal plea to Shanghai Shenhua to let him finish the season at Manchester United before returning to China.
The striker’s loan deal at Old Trafford expires on Sunday and so far talks to extend it between United and the Chinese Super League side have failed to provide a resolution.
But boyhood United fan Ighalo is desperate to finish the season with the club, having made a positive impact in his eight appearances to date.
He asked Shanghai Shenhua to allow him to stay put until United’s campaign is completed, with the former Watford striker aware this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent the club that means so much to him.
Confidence is growing in Ighalo’s camp that a deal to extend the loan may yet be struck before Sunday’s expiry, with talks described as “much more positive” than they had been.
In a related development, Ighalo is reportedly ‘edging ever closer to an extended stay at Manchester United’ after it was revealed the Chinese Super League’s foreign players are set to be banned from returning until October.
“On the one hand, the Super Eagle [Nigerian] feels very good in Manchester with which it is very close to a salary agreement,” Ighalo’s agent Ladi Salami told FootMercato.
“Negotiations with the Chinese are on-going and are going well. On the other hand, in view of the latest regulations in force in the Middle Empire, it is almost impossible to offer such amounts.”
The news of Ighalo’s potential extension to his time at Manchester United comes amid reports in China that foreign players may not be able to return to the country until October – despite the new season being set to start next month.
Up to a third of the Chinese Super League’s players are currently outside of China and face being refused entry until much later in the year, according to Sky football reporter Miao Yuan.
Ighalo is among a huge group of players and managers that fall into that category, including Dalian Yifang manager Rafa Benitez.