Football’s suspension due to the coronavirus outbreak could have serious repercussions for one player in particular – Odion Ighalo.
Ighalo was signed on loan from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua until 30th June of this year, ironically because the Chinese Superleague was suspended due to the virus.
His home club agreed to loan him out rather than continue to pay his £240,000 per week salary with no football to be played.
But now Manchester United are the ones paying his salary while football is on lockdown.
As things stand, the football season is set to resume on April 4th, but if, as many expect, the suspension is extended, it may be the case that Ighalo does not get to play another game for Manchester United.
It would be a cruel and tragic end to the fairytale that brought the 30-year-old striker to fulfil his dream of playing for the club he has supported since he was a young boy.
It is possible, of course, that the Red Devils could negotiate a permanent deal for the Nigerian. Reports yesterday claimed that Ighalo could be bought for £15 million and that he would take a 50% pay cut to sign a permanent deal with United on a £120,000 per week salary.
In a poll conducted by The Peoples Person, an overwhelming 86% of Manchester United supporters said the club should sign Ighalo on a permanent deal under those circumstances.
26,000 ‘yes’ voters justified their choice by saying ‘He plays with his heart not for money’, he’s ‘the perfect person to shape Martial’, ‘much better than Lukaku’ and that ‘he has added something that was much needed. A proper number 9 who holds the ball up and looks a threat whenever he is on the ball.’
They believe that it would represent a ‘great piece of business’ and ‘a very astute signing’.
‘Snap him up I say’, ‘priceless’, ‘kind of striker that is packed with lots of scoring talent’, ‘straight up … sign him … he will definitely put pressure on those ahead of him’ were common themes expressed in the comments.
Of the 4,000 ‘no’ voters, some believed that United should not be seduced by Ighalo’s exploits to date as they have been in relatively easy games: ‘Is he able to score when United [are] faced with big clubs? I don’t think so’ said one.
The overwhelming majority in favour speaks volumes about how quickly the Nigerian has won the hearts and minds of the Manchester United faithful. What happens next is almost impossible to predict, but what we can say for sure is that Odion Ighalo wants to continue playing for Manchester United and the Red Devils’ fans emphatically want him to stay.
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