Shanghai Shenhua are set to make a financial killing from Odion Ighalo’s expected permanent transfer to Manchester United in the summer.
Ighalo joined the Red Devils from the Chinese club in January on loan until the season but the deal did not include the option of a permanent transfer.
Sources close to the deal claimed the looming transfer deadline meant both sides ran out of time to negotiate a fixed fee for United to buy Ighalo at the end of the season.
That oversight now looks likely to play into Shanghai Shenhua hands as it appears increasingly likely Ighalo will extend his stay at Old Trafford.
Although Ighalo’s move wasn’t universally applauded at the time, the Nigerian has endeared himself to fans, coaching staff and the United hierarchy with several impressive performances.
Four goals in just three starts have seen United fans around the world demand the Nigerian be signed permanently and manager Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer has hinted a permanent transfer is in the works.
“Odion has done really well since he came in and he’s enjoying himself,” Solskjaer said after Ighalo scored a sublime goal in United’s 5-0 hammering of LASK in the Europa League on Thursday.
“He will improve and get better, but he has qualities we saw in him, and we needed, and we will still need those qualities for next season, so let’s see what we will do.”
According to the Mirror, Shanghai Shenhua will demand at least £15m (N6.7bn) for the 30-year-old representing nearly 200% return on the £5.72m they paid Changchun Yatai for the Nigerian.
Ighalo’s current market value stands at £5.9m, but the Chinese club will make nearly three times that amount if United as expected, sign the former Super Eagles striker permanently.
Apart from his goal at LASK, Ighalo also netted twice against Derby County in the FA Cup and scored against Club Brugge in the Europa League on his first start for the Red Devils.