Manchester United’s decision to hand Odion Ighalo an extended loan until 2021 reveals a lot about the club’s plans this summer.
United needed to sign an extra striker, if Ighalo left. Now they may get away without adding one at all this summer.
Another striker may be seen as a luxury buy, when there are other areas which need strengthening, and we see if Mason Greenwood can take the next step forward over the next 12 months.
Signing Ighalo on loan until the end of January gives United flexibility, and suggests a big money striker deal will not be forthcoming this summer.
It is an admission from United in two areas. Firstly, that we cannot do it all.
United cannot be too wild in the transfer market, with the club in heavy debt, and current uncertainty over qualification for next year’s Champions League.
There could still be a club record transfer this summer for Jadon Sancho, but there may not be too much else.
United may be able to add Sancho, and a handful of other far cheaper deals. But a £60 million deal for a Moussa Dembele type striker this summer as well may simply be asking too much.
The choice to extend Ighalo’s contract until January instead of just the end of the season, suggests United are happy with him, and that a striker is not a priority in the transfer market.
United can’t do it all this summer, and are unlikely to try to over-extend.
Another Sancho hint?
So if United are not spending big money on a striker, are they saving it for a big splurge elsewhere?
It all seems to be lining up to suggest United will pay big for Jadon Sancho, who is valued at £100 million by Borussia Dortmund.
He may be worth the money, but it is a hefty fee to pay in this market. After his hat-trick at the weekend, United’s hopes of getting him for a cut-price fee are less likely.
So if United are preparing to spend big on Sancho, small sacrifices will need to be made.
Choosing to take the cheaper option and extending Ighalo’s loan deal is one of those sacrifices United may be making.
The Sancho deal is likely to take up United’s entire budget, and then the rest of the transfers will come via funds received through player sales, eg Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo et al.
Sancho is good enough that he is worth United putting all their eggs in one basket for.
This decision may also be taken as a sign of confidence that United feel they can get him, and are prepared to throw everything at our disposal towards Dortmund to convince them to sell.
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