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Ighalo to stay in UK due to coronavirus restrictions


Nigeria’s forward Odion Ighalo greets the fans during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Round of 16 football match between Nigeria and Cameroon at the Alexandria Stadium in the Egyptian city on July 6, 2019. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP) (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Odion Ighalo will stay in the UK due to possible tighter restrictions regarding coronavirus.

It is believed increased restrictions could be placed on travellers who have been in mainland China within the past fortnight.

The Nigerian striker, who signed on loan for Manchester United on transfer deadline day on Jan. 31. from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua, has been in the UK over the last week after arriving from China.

However, United have revealed he will not travel with the rest of the squad as they spend time in Spain at a training camp during their Premier League winter break.

Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explained to MUTV why Ighalo will not travel to Spain.

“Odion will stay in Manchester, because he arrived from China in the last 14 days,” Solskjaer said. “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. 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.”

United added that this is “simply a precautionary measure as the situation continues to be monitored.”

Ighalo has been training with Olympians in Manchester to try and get himself up to speed as quickly as possible.

The Chinese Super League was due to start this week so he was only in preseason before he sealed his surprise move to the team who grew up supporting.

This is a smart move from Solskjaer and United as they scrambled around to find a striker on a short-term loan deal to help deal with the injury to Marcus Rashford, so why would they jeopardize Ighalo’s availability?

With restrictions tightening all the time due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in China and other regions, leaving Ighalo in Manchester to work on his fitness to be ready for United’s trip to Chelsea on Feb. 17 makes perfect sense.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports