‘I’d be shocked if he walked away’ – Pundit backs Man Utd loanee to prioritise possible permanent stay

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has insisted that loanee Odion Ighalo would jump at the chance to secure a permanent move to Man Utd if they make him a contract offer.

After injuries to key players in attack including Marcus Rashford, United swooped for the 30-year-old in January to add much-needed depth and quality.

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Ighalo hasn’t disappointed thus far as he’s bagged four goals and an assist in eight games for the Red Devils across all competitions, as he has shown enough to suggest that he can be a key part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad perhaps even when Rashford is fully fit.

As noted by the Sun, it has been suggested that Ighalo has been offered a new big-money deal by parent club Shanghai Shenhua, and that in turn could scupper Man Utd’s hopes of keeping him at Old Trafford on a permanent basis if they wish to do so.

However, Merson believes that from what he’s heard from the player himself since his move to United, if they put a contract offer on the table for him to extend his time in Manchester, he has no doubt that Ighalo will stay.

“And don’t worry about the new mega money offers in China,” he wrote in his Sky Sports column. “He’s said all the right things since joining Manchester United. He’s turned around enough times and said he’s dreamed of playing for United so if they do offer him a permanent deal, I can’t see him turning it down.

“Everything’s gone right for him so far and if United do offer him a chance to stay, I’d be shocked if he walked away.”

Merson did also add that there will be a decision to make as far as Man Utd are concerned in terms of whether or not they believe that Ighalo is capable of displaying this level of form on a consistent basis in the long term if they do offer him a permanent stay.

It’s a valid point in that the Nigerian international has a point to prove right now and is delivering, but if he gets that contract, will he still have the same level of desire and commitment?

That’s one for Solskjaer and the hierarchy to figure out, but his form so far in a Man Utd shirt can’t be ignored as he has delivered when called upon to open up the conversation over a long-term stay.

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