Nigeria striker, Odion Ighalo likely to have his loan spell end without being handed an extension or permanent deal due to the COVID19 outbreak.
All professional matches in English football have been postponed until April 30, but the Football Association has agreed to an indefinite extension for the season to conclude so as to maintain the integrity of the competitions.
Should club football in England resume on April 30, there will have been a seven-week period without matches.
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The FA’s rules and regulations state ‘the season shall terminate not later than the 1 June’ and Premier League clubs have either nine or 10 fixtures left to play. The likelihood is matching would continue well into July and Ighalo’s short-term loan contract with United expires on June 30.
United have refused to comment on Ighalo’s contract situation and the Nigerian would be under no obligation to play for them after his contract ends but an extension could be arranged.
Fifa said it is monitoring the issue of players’ contracts in a statement last week: “FIFA is analysing the current situation and the potential impact it may have on all areas of football, including player contracts. More information will follow in due course.”
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Ighalo’s parent club Shanghai Shenhua were due to start their Chinese Super League season on February 22 but the start date was pushed back following the outbreak of the Coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan.
Reports in China this week suggested the CSL season could commence on April 18 after it emerged on Thursday the country had reported no new local cases of COVID-19.
United do not have an option to buy Ighalo, who has scored four goals in three United starts, making eight appearances overall, since he sealed a loan move on deadline day in January. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested last week the club could explore the possibility of signing Ighalo permanently.
“Odion has done well since he came in and he’s enjoying himself,” Solskjaer said. “And he will improve and get better but he has qualities we saw in him and we needed and we will still need those qualities for next season, so let’s see what we will do.”