Manchester United new boy Odion Ighalo will go straight into the squad for Monday night’s game at Chelsea, despite missing the club’s warm-weather training camp due to travel restriction concerns.
The 30-year-old completed a surprise loan switch from Chinese side, Shanghai Shenhua, on deadline day, but did not head to Spain with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s group because of the coronavirus outbreak, which has so far killed more than 1,000 people in mainland China.
The United boss said over the weekend that the club had left Ighalo in the UK as they were unsure whether he would be allowed to return to the country, having arrived from China in the previous fortnight.
But despite missing the trip to Marbella, Solskjaer has confirmed that the striker will go straight into the squad for the trip to Stamford Bridge after the winter break.
“Yeah, he is going to travel with us,” the Norwegian said. “We will just see his fitness work this week and I think we will get him sharp.
“We want to integrate him as quickly as we can because, of course, he is desperate to play for us.”
Ighalo had started pre-season training in China before the sudden move to Manchester, where he is undergoing a strength-based fitness regime in a bid to get match-ready.
The Nigeria international’s new teammates, meanwhile, are benefiting from their Spanish training camp and having some much-needed downtime.
“I think the boys enjoyed a break – they needed a break,” Solskjaer said. “But now they are back, focused and they have been working well.
“With the weather back home as well, this has been an even bigger plus for us. Being in Europe, because the travel isn’t too far, is also a good point because we don’t have too many days before we have to go back and get ready for Chelsea.”
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