Manchester United star Odion Ighalo would prefer to turn his temporary spell at Old Trafford into a permanent one come the summer transfer window rather than return to Shanghai Shenhua, reports claimed.
The Nigeria international has impressed since his January arrival, scoring four goals from eight appearances across all competitions so far.
Manchester United sparked a backlash among both fans and pundits when they swooped to bring Ighalo in on the final day of the January transfer arrival.
Many slammed the decision to sign a 30-year-old who had spent the last few years playing in the Chinese Super Leage, which isn’t anywhere near as intense as the Premier League.
However, Ighalo has silenced his critics with some good performances so far.
He scored on his first start for the club in a 5-0 thumping of Club Brugge and also bagged a brace against Derby County in the FA Cup.
Ighalo also scored a stunner as United beat LASK 5-0 in the Europa League shortly before all football was put on hold.
Amid his fine displays, Shanghai Shenhua want him back.
They’re willing to offer the former Watford striker a salary worth £400,000-a-week – which would make him one of the best-paid players on the planet.
But the Daily Mail said Ighalo has decided he’d rather stay at United on a reduced salary rather than return to the Far East.
And that will be a boost to Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has already hinted he’d love to land Ighalo on a full-time basis.
Speaking after the win over LASK nearly two week ago, the Norwegian said: “Odion has come in really well and he will improve and get better.
“But he has qualities we saw in him and needed and we need those qualities for next season.
“He’s a goal-scorer and a striker. He doesn’t worry too much about all that nonsense, build-up play – that’s a joke obviously.
“He knows his job and role in the team, and he’s very good with his back to goal.
“He’s a great link player, but maybe the best thing about him is his personality. He’s got the whole lot really.”
Ighalo himself admitted earlier this month that he was living the “dream” by being at United, having supported the club while growing up in Nigeria as a child.
Opening up on his shock arrival, he said: “I never believed it was going to happen because the time difference from China to the UK is crazy and with the coronavirus that is going on in China.
“But dreams do come true. I prayed about it and it happened. When my agent told me about it I was hoping and longing, but I was having doubts in my mind because I was in China.
“How was I going to fly to the UK? Am I going to beat this coronavirus to get in and United have another striker they are looking at?
“I was happy my name was being mentioned but I did not put my mind on it 100 per cent because I thought it was not going to happen because of the situation in China.
“When my agent called me and told me Manchester United wanted to do this deal I said ‘are you serious?’ and ‘how am I going to speak to the director because he doesn’t speak English?’.
“I had to go to the translator and bang on his door. He had to go to the director to talk. I was talking to the translator and he was translating to the director, there were three-way calls with my agent and Man Utd were talking too. I didn’t get to sleep until 6am.
“It still feels like a dream sometimes. But I don’t want to get carried away with too much emotion so that I am able to concentrate on training well and playing well. I know I am playing for the biggest club in the world.”