Football

Odion Ighalo inches closer to Manchester United stay

Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins is on the verge of a return to Shanghai Shenhua, Chinese media have reported, increasing the likelihood compatriot Odion Ighalo will make his stay at Manchester United a permanent one this summer.

Ighalo has made an impressive start to life at United, scoring four times in eight games since signing on loan until May 31 from the Chinese Super League club.

Martins, who was previously contracted to Shenhua from 2016 until the end of the 2018 season, was reported by Titan Sports to have arrived in China on Tuesday and was being lined up to replace Ighalo ahead of the Chinese Super League season.

Former United defender Rio Ferdinand believes Ighalo deserves to have his stint at Old Trafford made permanent after proving the doubters wrong.

He said on Instagram Live: "He's proved us all wrong... I think he's warranted the opportunity to come in as a full-time player.

"What he's given Manchester United which they didn't have is...a physical presence, he can hold off a defender or two and lay the ball in for someone else to score." - REUTERS

Football