Odion Ighalo was a last-second addition to Manchester United's squad prior to the closing of the January transfer window. And at the last second before his loan to the club expired, Man United ensured that its pleasant surprise would stick around a little longer.
Man United extended Igahlo's short-term loan, with the league suspension caused by the coronavirus pandemic threatening to force him away from the team before the season was able to be completed. Ighalo's initial loan from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua was due to expire on May 31, but the two clubs agreed to extend his stay until January 31, 2021.
That ensures Ighalo remains for the rest of this season and the start of the next one–provided all goes according to plan. With four goals in eight appearances, Ighalo delivered a necessary spark for the Red Devils up front, where consistency had been lacking and where injuries had ravaged the team.
When play resumes, United will find itself active on three fronts–the Premier League, the FA Cup and Europa League–meaning it would've been sorely shorthanded had Ighalo been forced to leave.
The Premier League season is due to restart on June 17, with United in fifth place and desperate to qualify for the Champions League. Depending on what happens with Man City's appeal of its Champions League ban next week, fifth could be good enough to reach Europe's top competition next season. In order to remove any doubt, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side would need to make up a three-point gap with fourth-place Chelsea and stave off the clubs behind it that are well within striking distance.
The FA Cup, which Man United is hoping to win for a record-tying 13th time, is slated to resume with the quarterfinals the weekend of June 27/28. The club will play at Norwich City, when that fixture date is confirmed.
There has been no rescheduling of the Europa League knockout stage just yet. United was well on its way to the quarterfinals of that competition, too, after routing Austria's LASK 5-0 in the first leg of the round of 16. Ighalo scored the opener and assisted on Daniel James's strike in the rout.