Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told the club’s official website that new signing Odion Ighalo will not join the winter training camp in Marbella.
Solskjaer says this is due to concerns Ighalo will not be allowed back into the UK.
Ighalo joined United from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua. There is worldwide panic over the coronavirus which began in China.
Solskjaer said: “Odion will stay in Manchester, because he arrived from China in the last 14 days. Because of the situation in China, we’re not sure if he’d be allowed back into England if he leaves the country again, so he’s staying here working with a personal coach, individual programme and his family then can settle in England as well. That’s a plus.
“Of course he might have liked to have come with the players and got to know them, but the risk [of potential border restrictions tightening], we don’t want to take that.”
What does this mean for Ighalo, and Europa League?
This is obviously disappointing for Ighalo as it delays his time getting to know his new teammates.
United were right to avoid the potential embarrassment of Ighalo being denied the chance to return to the UK, and subsequently missing the weekend’s game against Chelsea.
It does spell concern for the Europa League however. After the Chelsea match, United travel to Belgium to take on Club Brugge.
There is a chance Ighalo is left at home for this one. While United may fancy their chances of winning in Belgium, potentially restricted travel for the striker could become a problem as the competition progresses.
United make clear their stance is a ‘precautionary measure’, but there is no chance the risk just will disappear in a week’s time.
Who else is in the squad?
Solskjaer has confirmed Paul Pogba is staying behind along with Marcus Rashford.
However Scott McTominay does travel, along with Axel Tuanzebe, hinting both players are closing in on a return to action.
The Times had reported this week that McTominay had been expected to miss the trip, so this is a welcome boost.
Reserve goalkeeper Lee Grant is absent with an injury, will require surgery and could be out for the next two to three months.
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