Manchester United are confident of completing the permanent transfer of Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua. The Nigeria international joined the Red Devils on the final day of the January transfer window as an emergency loan signing. He has shattered expectations and appears to be on the verge of sealing a full-time switch to Old Trafford.

Ighalo scored four goals in eight appearances before professional football across the globe ground to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He is expected back in Shanghai when his loan deal expires at the end of May but the Premier League season is set to continue well past that date.

United bosses are open to the prospect of keeping Ighalo on a permanent basis as a result of his encouraging form.

 Italian football journalist Nicolo Schira claims the former Watford hotshot is set to be offered a three-year deal worth around £100,000-a-week, which is significantly less than he earns in the Chinese Super League.

Schira wrote on Twitter: “Manchester United want to sign on a permanent deal the Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo.

“Red Devils are working to buy him for €15M. For Ighalo is ready 3-years contract with a wages of €6M a year.

“#MUFC are confident to close, even if Shanghai Shenhua offer more.”

Ighalo’s parent club are reportedly prepared to table a contract extension worth around £400,000-a-week as reported by FrujuSports but Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson expects the United fan to remain at Old Trafford.

“I know he hasn’t played a lot of football but when he’s come off the bench and when he has got some game time, he’s looked class,” Merson said.

“It’s a hard decision Manchester United have to make regarding his future because if you give him a contract, can he perform again that next season?

“When you go to a club on loan you’ve got that hunger of wanting to secure a permanent move, prove everybody inside the club right and everybody outside the club wrong. All of a sudden, you give someone a contract and they think they’ve done all the hard work.

“You’ve only got to look at his time at Watford. He looked a world-beater but then next minute he couldn’t score a goal for toffee. But if you are going on the form he’s showed since coming to the club in January it’s going to be hard to get rid of him.

“And don’t worry about the new mega money offers in China.

“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.”