March 25, 2020 / 4:59 AM / 11 days ago

Ighalo set for Man United stay as Martins prepares to join Shanghai

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Europa League - Round of 32 Second Leg - Manchester United v Club Brugge - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - February 27, 2020 Manchester United's Odion Ighalo Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins is on the verge of a return to Shanghai Shenhua, Chinese media have reported, increasing the likelihood 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.

China’s domestic league has yet to start the 2020 season after kick off was delayed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak but speculation is mounting that the campaign will begin in late April or early May.

England’s Premier League has been suspended due to the pandemic and will not resume before April 30.

Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Peter Rutherford

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