Paul Merson makes prediction about Odion Ighalo’s future at Man United

Paul Merson reckons Odion Ighalo will be at Manchester United next season if he's offered a contract to stay

Paul Merson
Arsenal legend Paul Merson (Photo: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson believes that Odion Ighalo will stay at Manchester United if he is offered a permanent deal in the summer.

The Nigeria international moved to the 20-time English champions on a loan deal from Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua in the January transfer window.

The 30-year-old has hit the ground running with a respectable return of four goals in eight games in all competitions to help Manchester United reach the round of 16 in the Europa League.

Ighalo has a proven goal-scoring record in the Premier League from his stint with Watford, where the African striker netted 36 times in 90 games in the top flight.

Manchester United have been in desperate need of a target man after Romelu Lukaku completed a move to Inter Milan last summer to leave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer short on attacking options.

Sky Sports pundit Merson believes that Ighalo would be eager to commit his future to Manchester United if the Red Devils decided to make his transfer to Old Trafford permanent.

“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?” Merson told Sky Sports.

“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.”

Ighalo has netted 46 times during his three years in the Chinese Super League, spending his peak years in Asia rather than European football.

Manchester United signed Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes in a £47m deal from Sporting Lisbon in January.

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