Manchester United have agreed an extension to Odion Ighalo's loan, the club announced on Monday. Ighalo's initial spell ended on Sunday but Shanghai Shenhua have agreed to allow the striker to stay at Old Trafford until January 2021.
Ighalo, who is also set to sign a contract extension with Shanghai, will now be available to finish the campaign when it restarts on June 17, though sources have told ESPN United have no option or obligation to buy.
A statement from United read: "The Nigerian striker's stay was initially due to end on May 31 but he will now remain with the Reds until Jan. 31 2021, enabling him to build on an impressive start to life with the club he supported as a boy.
"Today's confirmation is a timely boost for United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as he continues to prepare his squad for this month's resumption of competitive football."
Ighalo has scored four goals in eight appearances since arriving on deadline day at the end of the January transfer window. United are set to pay Shanghai an additional loan fee of around €4 million to secure his services for another eight months. The Chinese club had originally wanted the striker to return for the start of their domestic campaign this month.
Ighalo will find more competition for places once the season resumes with Marcus Rashford fit again following a back injury. Rashford hasn't played since January but has been training at Carrington in preparation for the restart.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team have nine Premier League game remaining, plus outstanding fixtures in the FA Cup and Europa League. Proposals on the table would see UEFA aim to complete European club competitions in August.
Sources have told ESPN that the extension to Ighalo's loan will not stop Solskjaer revamping his forward line in the next transfer window. Despite the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic, money will be made available to bolster the squad. Borussia Dortrmund's Jadon Sancho, Aston Villa's Jack Grealish and Lyon's Moussa Dembele are among the targets.