The Red Devils boss admits he’s open to signing the striker long term should he impress at Old Trafford
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has opened the door for Odion Ighalo to turn his short-term loan deal into a permanent move.
The Nigeria international joined the Red Devils on a six-month loan deal on deadline day from Shanghai Shenhua and could make his debut for the club on Monday in the Premier League against Chelsea.
Ahead of his first minutes for United, Solskjaer has given Ighalo further motivation to hit the ground running with a long-term future at Old Trafford potentially up for grabs.
“It’s a loan, but when you’re in the door and if you impress it gives you a chance,” Solskjaer at his pre-match press conference on Sunday.
“That’s exactly the same for everyone who signs if it’s permanent or it’s a loan. If you impress as a player, if you impress as a person, if you can help this group improve, then of course there’s a chance that we’ll look at extending things.
“That doesn’t just go for Odion, but since you asked, yes, of course his incentive is to play as well as he can. And it’s up to us to make sure that he’d want to stay if we wanted him.
“I think he’s probably pinching himself at times, because he’s now at his favourite club at the age of 30.
“Hopefully he’ll prove to you what I think he will. He’s a proven goalscorer, so he’ll do all right.”
Ighalo, a lifelong fan of the Red Devils, was forced to train solo last week as a result of precautionary measures relating to him coming from China where the coronavirus has originated from.
Currently ninth in the Premier League, Solskjaer’s side find themselves six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea ahead of a must-win match on Monday.
Along with Ighalo, United also brought in Bruno Fernandes over the winter transfer period and Solskjaer is satisfied with how his squad is shaping up ahead of a crucial period.
“I’m very happy with the two guys we’ve brought in,” he said.
“To finally have got Bruno over the line, to have signed him after following him for so long, just seeing what he can give us and what he will give us, it has been great. It will be good to integrate Odion as well.”