Odion Ighalo is set to leave Manchester United this week unless there is a last-minute breakthrough in negotiations with his parent club Shanghai Shenhua.
The 30-year-old arrived at Old Trafford in January on a loan deal until the end of the season, with his his short-term contract set to expire on May 30.
The suspension of football due to Covid-19 and the consequent delay to ending the season has seen all Premier League teams agree that clubs can temporarily extend contracts of players whose deals are coming to an end this summer.
United are keen to keep Ighalo until the season is resumed and played to a completion, but there has yet to be progress in negotiations with Chinese Super League side Shenhua as they want to have the ex-Nigeria international back to begin preparations for the resumption of the CSL.
There is no definitive date for action to resume in China, but a lack of squad depth means Shenhua see Ighalo as a key part of their squad.
Llifelong United fan Ighalo wants to extend his stay at Old Trafford, and while manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping to add a forward to his squad in the summer transfer window, Goal can confirm that an offer has not been made to sign Ighalo on a permanent deal.
Shenhua would be open to selling the former Nigeria international if United made a “reasonable” offer, but the Red Devils are looking elsewhere for a long-term reinforcement.
The deadline day deal to bring Ighalo to United in January was widely criticised, but he has impressed during his time in Manchester, scoring four goals in three starts for the club.
Marcus Rashford has returned to full fitness after the back injury which has kept him sidelined since the start of the year, so the club are relaxed over Ighalo’s future as Solskjaer will have options when the season resumes.
United’s players returned to training at the club’s Carrington base last week after the go-ahead was given for socially distanced sessions.
Each club is regularly testing their players and staff for coronavirus, with the latest round of results released over the weekend showing two positive results after 996 tests.