Odion Ighalo to Manchester United: What Fifa's statement means for the on-loan striker

Matt Davies
UEFA via Getty Images

Odion Ighalo's future with Manchester United remains totally up in the air as Fifa's latest contract guidelines add to his already difficult dilemma.

The life-long United fan arrived at the club in February on a six-month loan deal from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua, seamlessly slotting in at Old Trafford with four goals in eight games.

The 30-year-old has on numerous occasions made clear his desire to stay at United, though his contract due to expire at the end of May and he has yet to be offered a permanent deal.

But how will Fifa's new guidelines impact his decision?

With the footballing world currently at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, Fifa announced on Tuesday they approve of plans to relax the regulations on contract expirations.

(Manchester United via Getty Images)

In a statement, Fifa said: "With the current suspension of play in most countries, it is now obvious that the current season will not end when people thought it would.

"Therefore, it is proposed that contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end."

Fifa's guidelines are not legally binding, however: if Ighalo is to stay at United, a deal will likely have to be worked out between the two clubs.

This creates problems as Shanghai are ready to offer Ighalo a £400,000-a-week, two-year contract to return to China.

Ighalo's current deal is worth a reported £300,000 per week, a salary United would most likely be unwilling to pay - and matching Shanghai's latest offer looks nigh-on impossible.

Simply put, Ighalo would have to take a significant pay cut should he stay in Manchester, and how much game-time the Nigerian would actually get remains to be seen.

While his form has been formidable, he has been playing in the absence of the injured Marcus Rashford who will surely return to the team as he regains fitness.

Would Ighalo really risk his bumper contract to sit on the bench? Would United want to splash £15m for a 30-year-old on astronomical wages?

Ighalo, after finding himself in a whirlwind dream at United, now finds himself in a real dilemma.

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