Manchester United's Odion Ighalo will use the pain of missing out on the 2016 FA Cup final as fuel for Sunday's semi-final clash with Chelsea.

The striker suffered last-four heartbreak four years ago when playing for Watford, who were beaten 2-1 by Crystal Palace to miss out on a showpiece showdown with his current club United.

Ighalo, on loan at Old Trafford from Shanghai Shenhua, described it as a "bitter" experience and he is desperate to avoid a repeat at Wembley this weekend.

"It was a difficult one to take against Crystal Palace, we lost 2-1 at Wembley," the 31-year-old told MUTV. "If we'd have won, we'd have played United in the final.

"Unfortunately, we lost. It was a bitter one to take but this is an opportunity again in an FA Cup semi-final to make it right and go forward to the final.

"If I'm called to play, I'm going to give all I can to help the team win the game.

"Everybody wants to play against teams like Chelsea, big teams, and play well against them and, most of all, playing at Wembley and, you know if you win, you're in the final.

"So, of course, it's going to give you more to want to fight hard and make sure you give everything to win the game.

"To get to the final would be great for me in my life and my career. I missed out in 2016 and I have the opportunity to now get to the final with the club I've supported all my life.

"It would make my dreams perfect. It will be tough but we have what it takes."

United have defeated Frank Lampard's side on three occasions this term but Ighalo, who scored in the quarter-final win over Norwich City, is taking nothing for granted.

"We have beaten them three times this season I think, one in the Carabao Cup and two in the league, and we're playing them now in the semi-final," he said.

"All those games don't count though. This is a different game which is going to be even tougher without the fans in the stadium.

"We have to fight from the first minute until the end. It's always tough against them but I think, with the quality and momentum we have now, we are ready to go and to win against any team."

On-loan Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo has vowed to walk off the pitch if he is racially abused again and a referee takes no action against the culprit.

Ighalo revealed he was "called all sorts of names" during a game while playing for his parent club Shanghai Shenhua, but took no further action after informing the Chinese Football Association.

The 30-year-old, who this week extended his stay with United until the end of January 2021, will not stand for any further abuse.

"If it happens to me I would report it to the referee and see what they do, but if they don't take action about it then I'm going to walk off because it should not be done to any player or anyone in the world," he told Sky Sports News.

"In one game in China I got called all sorts of names and after the game, I didn't shake his hand. I walked straight into the dressing room, I was angry, I reported it to the FA.

"I didn't press forward with it, I just let it go because I'm just this kind of guy. I don't like to drag issues out. But I don't think it should be condoned in any country."

Ighalo stressed the importance of educating the younger generation after the death of African-American George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis last week, which led to protests in the United States and far beyond.

The Nigerian added: "Nobody should condone racism. We are all human. Despite the colour of our skin, we are all the same, we live in the same world, the same life.

"I don't condone racism, but at the same time, I don't condone riots.

"It didn't start today, it's not going to end today. It's going to take time. We are hoping this situation can change the narrative and make it more limited. It's going to reduce it to a minimum.

"We are fighting now so that for the next generation it will be cut off, finally. We have to start from the younger generation, educate them, let them see that all humans are the same. We should fight for humanity not colours."

A "buzzing" Odion Ighalo has thanked Shanghai Shenhua for allowing his loan move to Manchester United to be extended until January 2021.

Ighalo initially joined United in a temporary deal at the end of the January transfer window as the club sought cover in attack for the rest of the season, with Marcus Rashford suffering a long-term injury.

The signing of Ighalo raised eyebrows, but the former Watford man scored four goals in eight matches in all competitions - starting just three of those games.

The season's suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic in March led to concerns United would lose the services of Ighalo before the conclusion of the 2019-20 campaign.

But United confirmed they had reached an agreement with Shanghai on Monday, leaving the 30-year-old overjoyed.

"I'm really happy," he told United's official website. "It's a dream for me to be here. I'm buzzing and ready to go.

"I feel okay. The last few days have been difficult as there have been different talks about it but now I'm really happy, so I need to concentrate fully. I'm here until the end of January, so it's good for me.

"I decided I want to stay and I'm happy. Since the first day I arrived, I made it clear that I wanted whatever it takes to continue that work. It was very difficult, there were some talks, but I'm happy they finally agreed and got everything done. Everything is official now.

"I'm sending thanks to the Shanghai president and director for the support because they know this is what I want. So, I'm thanking them and I'm happy that this has happened. They wish me all the best too.

"Like I've said, since I was young, I've been supporting this club and playing for it is a dream. Now I've extended my loan, it makes it more even clear and I'm committed as I know, in my head, I'm here until the end of January

"I just want to work hard and enjoy it, support the team and do whatever I can to make us go higher and higher."

Pending final government approval, the Premier League will resume later this month.

United head into the final nine league games three points adrift of fourth-place Chelsea, while they are also in the FA Cup quarter-finals and have one foot in the last eight of the Europa League having thrashed LASK 5-0 in their final match before the season halted.

Manchester United have agreed a loan extension with Shanghai Shenhua that ensures they will have the services of forward Odion Ighalo until January 2021.

Former Watford striker Ighalo was a surprise addition at Old Trafford at the end of the mid-season transfer window.

Negotiations to extend his stay were required just to allow him to finish this campaign, with his original spell at United due to finish at the end of May.

But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have now opted to retain the Nigeria international for the first half of next season too, which is testament to his impressive start.

Stats Perform News have used Opta data to look at how Ighalo has done in the very early stages of his United career.
 

IGHALO MAKES MOST OF LIMITED TIME

Ighalo has had limited time to make an impact, as he did not make his debut until February 17, with the coronavirus pandemic halting the season under a month later.

The 30-year-old made a total of 8 appearances for United across all competitions, 3 of which were starts, accumulating 319 minutes on the pitch.

He has scored 4 goals, right in line with his expected goals total of 4.03, and fired in 17 shots on goal, 11 of which were on target.

Ighalo had a shot conversion rate of 23.5 per cent and he also created 8 chances for his team-mates, which includes his 1 assist.

STATS FAVOURABLE COMPARED TO BIG SIX RIVALS

When compared to the main strikers at the other members of the Premier League's big six – Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal – Ighalo's stats are favourable.

No player has scored more than his 4 goals across all competitions since February 17, and the only forward who matches him in that tally is in fact team-mate Anthony Martial. 

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has scored 3, comes the closest.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah (19) is the only player to fire in more shots, while Ighalo is the top performer when it comes to attempts on target, with Martial second as he sits three behind.

Martial and Mason Greenwood both have better shot conversion rates of 28.57 per cent, with Aubameyang (42.86 per cent) coming out on top in that category.

But Ighalo's mark is still better than that of Liverpool’s front three - Salah (10.53 per cent), Sadio Mane (13.33 per cent) and Roberto Firmino (7.4 per cent) - as well as City duo Gabriel Jesus (15.38 per cent) and Sergio Aguero (13.33 per cent).

Jesus (10) and Salah (9) created marginally more chances than Ighalo, but no other top striker registered more than half of his tally of 8, with Aguero, Mane, Firmino and Greenwood all on 4 as others fared worse.

He and Mane were the only forwards able to register 1 assist over that time too, with his creative play proving an added bonus for United over his early appearances.

Manchester United have struck a deal to extend Odion Ighalo's loan move from Shanghai Shenhua until January 2021.

Ighalo joined United in January, going on to score four goals in eight appearances in all competitions prior to the suspension of the season due to the coronavirus crisis.

The Nigeria international had only been due to stay until May 31, yet United have now agreed to keep him at Old Trafford until January 31 next year.

Former Watford striker Ighalo – who supported United as a boy – has not yet started in the Premier League, but he has netted in each of his starts in the Europa League and FA Cup.

Speaking on MUTV last week, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was hopeful of securing a deal for the 30-year-old.

"The loan deal went until the end of May now, so obviously he's supposed to be going back," Solskjaer said.

"We're in dialogue. They've been great towards us, his club, and allowed him to play for his dream club.

"It's been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish off what he started, hopefully with a trophy for us."

The Premier League season is due to restart on June 17, with teams having returned to contact training last week.

 

Could Spain international Fabian Ruiz be set for a return to his homeland?

Former Real Betis star Fabian, who now plays for Napoli in Serie A, is a reported target for Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The Spanish rivals are trying to lure Fabian back to LaLiga.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA, MADRID DO BATTLE FOR FABIAN

Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to battle each other for the signing of Napoli star Fabian Ruiz, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Spanish midfielder Fabian has been linked with a return to LaLiga throughout the season, having left Real Betis for Napoli in 2018.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Napoli are expecting Barca and Madrid to go head-to-head for Fabian – who is contracted to the Serie A side until 2023.

 

ROUND-UP

- L'Equipe says Inter have made an offer for Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette. With Inter star Lautaro Martinez linked to Barca, the Nerazzurri are eyeing alternatives, however, Lacazette is not interested in swapping London for Milan.

- There could be some big changes at Madrid in 2022. AS Diario says Los Blancos want Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland to team up with Eden Hazard in a new strike force. The likes of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Isco will be out of contract at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Juventus are ready to negotiate a deal for Santos teenager Kaio Jorge, according to Calciomercato. Santos are demanding €30million for the 18-year-old, though Juve are only prepared to pay €15m.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City and Newcastle United have joined Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the race for 18-year-old Penarol winger Facundo Pellistri.

Odion Ighalo is prepared to pass on a £75m contract with Shanghai Shenhua to stay at Manchester United, reports the Daily Star. Ighalo's loan deal is set to expire at Old Trafford.

Manchester United star Paul Pogba returning to Juventus is apparently shaping as impossible.

Pogba, 27, has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford, with Juventus and Real Madrid reportedly interested in landing the midfielder.

But it seems the Serie A giants will find such a deal impossible.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA RETURNING TO JUVENTUS IS IMPOSSIBLE

Pogba leaving Manchester United to return to Juventus is looking impossible, according to Sport and Corriere dello Sport.

Sport says the Bianconeri cannot afford the €100million (£89m) United would want for the France international.

Pogba left Juve to join United for £89m (€105m) in 2016.

ROUND-UP

- James Rodriguez is pushing for a stay in the Spanish capital. Mundo Deportivo reports the Real Madrid playmaker is determined to sign for Atletico Madrid.

- Real Madrid may be looking for a back-up in his position, but Casemiro is seemingly going nowhere. Marca claims the midfielder recently extended his contract until 2023.

- Odion Ighalo is set for a return to China. The Mirror reports the striker is expecting to go back to Shanghai Shenhua from his loan spell at Manchester United after just eight appearances for the Premier League club, with the Chinese Super League side demanding he returns. Goal says United will focus on RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner and Lyon's Moussa Dembele with Ighalo leaving.

- Forget trying to land Ansu Fati this close season. According to Sport, Barcelona will keep the 17-year-old, who is reportedly wanted by Borussia Dortmund and Premier League clubs.

- Newcastle United are looking at signing Liverpool midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri if they are taken over, according to the Daily Mail.

- It seems Adam Lallana is set to leave Liverpool when his contract expires at the end of the season. The Mirror reports Burnley have joined the fight for the midfielder, who is also said to be a target for Leicester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted Manchester United could lose on-loan striker Odion Ighalo at the end of this week.

United are attempting to extend the former Watford player's stay at Old Trafford, but a deal has yet to be struck with Ighalo's parent Chinese club, Shanghai Shenhua.

Manager Solskjaer wants to keep hold of Ighalo for if and when the Premier League season resumes, after he made a bright impact in the early weeks of his temporary switch to United.

Time is running out though, with Ighalo's short-term contract, agreed at the end of January, due to expire at the end of this month.

Solskjaer told MUTV: "The loan deal went until the end of May now, so obviously he's supposed to be going back.

"We're in dialogue. They've been great towards us, his club, and allowed him to play for his dream club.

"It's been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish off what he started, hopefully with a trophy for us.

"At the moment, nothing has been agreed. Their league is going to get started soon so we're just waiting to see."

Nigerian Ighalo, 30, supported United as a boy and has scored four goals in eight appearances for the club, netting in each of his three starts.

The Premier League season, suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, could resume in June, but officials have admitted there is a chance the campaign may have to be curtailed.

Neymar's return to Barcelona could be getting a little closer.

The Paris Saint-Germain star continues to be linked with a return to Camp Nou, where he left in 2017 for a world-record €222million.

While there is uncertainty over whether Barcelona can get a deal done, it seems it may be getting closer.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR CLOSER TO BARCELONA RETURN AS PSG EYE DEMBELE

Paris Saint-Germain remain very interested in signing Ousmane Dembele and it could help Neymar return to Barcelona, according to Sport.

France international Dembele has struggled with injuries since joining Barca from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, but the former Rennes attacker could be set for a return to his homeland.

However, Marca reports Neymar is not a priority for Barcelona with their focus on Inter star Lautaro Martinez and Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic.

Staying at Barcelona and Sport says the club are following Hertha Berlin's 18-year-old midfielder Lazar Samardzic.

 

ROUND-UP

- Timo Werner starred again for RB Leipzig on Sunday with a hat-trick against Mainz in the Bundesliga. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp held a virtual meeting with the forward in recent weeks, according to journalist Raphael Honigstein.

- With Bayern Munich deciding not to buy Philippe Coutinho, the Barcelona attacker's future remains unclear. Le 10 Sport reports Arsenal want to start talks with the playmaker's agent, with head coach Mikel Arteta dreaming of signing the Brazil international.

- Toni Kroos looks set to finish his career at Real Madrid. AS reports the 30-year-old midfielder has no interest in leaving Madrid, where he is contracted until 2023, amid links to MLS and the Chinese Super League.

- Odion Ighalo's Manchester United career may be over already. According to the Daily Mail, Shanghai Shenhua have rejected the Premier League club's requests to keep the forward – who has scored four goals in eight games for United – on loan for another three months.

- Could Raul Jimenez leave Wolves for Juventus? Todofichajes reports Juve offered Adrien Rabiot plus €30m (£26.7m) for the star forward.

- Less than a year after leaving Newcastle United, Rafael Benitez is being linked with a return. Benitez, now coach of Dalian Professional in China, wants to return to the club if their proposed takeover is resolved, and sign Manchester City defender John Stones and Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley.

Barcelona are seemingly getting closer to landing Lautaro Martinez.

The Inter star continues to be linked with a move to Camp Nou, where he could play alongside Argentina team-mate Lionel Messi more regularly.

It appears an agreement has almost been reached.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, INTER AGREEMENT FOR LAUTARO 'IMMINENT'

Barcelona and Inter are finalising a deal for Lautaro Martinez, according to the cover of SPORT.

The report says the clubs are going to agree a deal of close to €60million plus two players – midfielder Arturo Vidal and either Nelson Semedo or Emerson.

SPORT also reports Barca and Martinez have a verbal agreement for a four-year deal.

ROUND-UP

- Juventus are still looking to sign Manchester United star Paul Pogba. AS reports Juve are offering the Premier League club Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot in their bid to complete a deal.

- Talk continues over Miralem Pjanic's potential switch to Barcelona. SPORT claims Juventus have also offered LaLiga's champions Mattia De Sciglio, along with the midfielder. SPORT also says Jean-Clair Todibo, who is on loan at Schalke, could be part of the deal.

- With 22 goals for Lyon this season, Moussa Dembele continues to attract interest from the Premier League. The Daily Star reports Manchester United are increasingly confident of landing the former Celtic forward in a £60m (€68.4m) deal.

- Odion Ighalo's loan at Manchester United from Shanghai Shenhua expires at the end of June. The Sun says the striker is desperate to extend his stay at Old Trafford, with the Chinese Super League club reportedly demanding a transfer fee.

- Linked with a move to Liverpool, Werder Bremen striker Milot Rashica appears to be heading elsewhere. BILD reports the 23-year-old's move to RB Leipzig is becoming more and more likely. Rashica has scored seven goals in 20 Bundesliga games this season.

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes will "take the Premier League by storm" when he settles, according to team-mate Odion Ighalo.

Fernandes had made an impressive start to his United career by scoring twice and providing three assists in five Premier League games before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Signed for a deal worth up to £67.6million (€80m) from Sporting CP in January, Fernandes can still go to another level, according to Ighalo.

"He is intelligent, he has foresight, he has vision. He sees what he wants to do with the ball before it comes to him," the forward told United Hangout on Sunday.

"You can see the understanding between him and [Anthony] Martial, you can see the understanding between me and him, so he's a very good player. And he's not even settled down yet.

"He comes from a very different place to the Premier League. When that guy has settled down, he's going to take the Premier League by storm."

Another player Ighalo has been impressed by is Anthony Martial, who has already matched his best haul of 11 Premier League goals in a season in 2019-20.

Ighalo lauded the France international's ability, saying: "Anthony, since I came, he's been scoring goals and doing so well, fighting a lot. He is a great player, he has great technique.

"He can do anything with the ball and he's been doing fantastically well. I just hope he keeps going and scoring more goals and we end the season very well.

"Watching it from outside it's different. You only watch games every weekend and see how skilful he is. But I train with this guy every day, you understand? Every blessed day I train with him, and it's incredible what he does in training, do you understand? He does it so easy, you know?

"Sometimes in games it's difficult to do it, sometimes you face a tougher opponent but this is someone who every day you see in training and say wow, he's a good player."

Odion Ighalo believes a midfield partnership between Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes could restore Manchester United to their former glories.

France star Pogba has endured an injury-ruined 2019-20 season, while rumours persist that a switch to Real Madrid could be on the cards.

In his absence, United swooped for Fernandes during the January transfer window and the Portugal international instantly endeared himself to the Old Trafford faithful.

This has led many to suggest Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have already moved on from Pogba's patchy second stint with the club, but on-loan striker Ighalo is keen for them to take a team already on an 11-match unbeaten run to new heights.

"He is working hard to get back to fitness and imagine when we have Pogba and Bruno in the midfield, then you will see a different team – [Marcus] Rashford coming back also," Ighalo said in an interview with Juliet Bawuah that the journalist streamed live via her Twitter page.

"Manchester United is going to be great again, winning games week-in, week out.

"He's a great player and it's going to be a privilege to play with him."

Fernandes has two goals and three assists in five Premier League appearances, bringing his prolific Sporting CP form to England's top flight with ease.

However, Ighalo insists the best is yet to come from the 25-year-old.

"Bruno is a fantastic player," he said. "I played with him in 2013-14 at Udinese. We’ve not seen the best of him yet in the Premier League.

"Once Bruno Fernandes settles down in England you will see what that guy can do. He has vision, he wants the ball always. He can shoot, he can score goals, he is very intelligent.

"Before the ball comes, he is a step ahead to know what he wants to do. In times to come you are going to see what he can do in the Premier League, even better than what he is doing now."

In terms of his own future, Ighalo feels now is not the time to worry about a permanent United deal, having impressed since agreeing to join as a surprise temporary signing from Shanghai Shenhua on January's transfer deadline day.

"You know I have a loan deal until the end of the season," he said. "Now it is for us to finish the season well, for me to do well and score goals.

"But even me as a person cannot start talking about a contract when you don't know when you're going to resume.

"I've been around the club for a few months and everything is working perfectly well for me and the team is going fantastically. We'll see how it goes."

Even if his United career turns out to be brief, Ighalo will have the memory of a thunderous and technically brilliant Europa League strike against LASK to look back on and cherish in the colours of a club he has supported since childhood.

"Yeah, for now I would say it is the best goal in my career," he added, having scored four times in eight outings across all competitions for the Red Devils.

"After that goal, I did not know how I scored that goal. My team-mates were showing me a video and going 'wow, wow, wow' and I was asking myself, 'How did you do that?'."

Odion Ighalo is yet to receive an offer to extend his stay at Manchester United beyond the end of this season.

Former Watford striker Ighalo joined United on loan until the end of the campaign from Shanghai Shenhua at the end of the January transfer window.

The deal sparked derision in some quarters, but the 30-year-old Nigeria international has scored in each of his three United starts. He has four goals from eight appearances in total.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised Ighalo for offering the Red Devils something different in attack, though it remains to be seen if he has a long-term future at Old Trafford.

"There is no offer on the table yet because the season is still on, I've not finished my loan deal," Ighalo told Elegbete TV.

"I don't just take decisions alone in my life. I have a principle and I have a guideline for everything I do. I always pray to God to direct me.

"I have seen so many tweets about this. I have seen so many people going crazy, [saying] 'Go back to China', some say 'Stay with Man United'.

"Have you seen me say a word? I've not said a word because I don't have anything to say. When the season is finished and I get offers from the two teams, then I will sit and think about it, pray about it and whatever God says I should do, I will go with that.

"I don't just sit down and take decisions, and I don't get carried away with whatever people say. I came to Manchester United to play for a pay cut because I wanted to. So anything could still happen, but I want the season to finish and my loan to finish. Then I will see everything I have on the ground.

"Man United might come with an offer, another team might come with an offer. You never know.

"You don't just rush and do things: 'I'm going here, I'm going here.' I have to sit down and finish the season well, sit down with my agent, see what's on the ground: 'A, B, C, D, is on the ground. Okay we have to pick.'"

Manchester United look destined for the Europa League quarter-finals after cruising to a resounding 5-0 victory over LASK in the first leg of their last-16 tie in Linz on Thursday.

In a match that was played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak, Odion Ighalo used his third start for United to take his tally for the club to four with a stunning effort in the 28th minute.

Ighalo then set up James to score his first goal since August, ending a run of 32 games and 2,527 minutes without hitting the back of the net in all competitions, before Juan Mata slid home a lovely pass from Fred.

Substitute duo Mason Greenwood and Andreas Pereira hit the back of the net within the space of 85 seconds in stoppage time to cap an impressive victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, who are now 11 unbeaten in all competitions.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Odion Ighalo for "doing what it says on the tin" with his brace for Manchester United against Derby County.

Ighalo netted a brace after Luke Shaw's opener at Pride Park on Thursday as United claimed a 3-0 victory in the FA Cup fifth round.

The former Nigeria international joined United on loan from Shanghai Shenhua in January and is already up to three goals in six games.

Solskjaer, whose side will face Norwich City in the quarter-finals, said the forward was delivering what he expected.

"[Ighalo] is doing what it says on the tin. He's come in and he's playing up front, different type of striker," the United manager told a news conference.

"He gets chances every game, today could have had another couple. Happy with him. Gives us a chance when Mason [Greenwood] and Anthony [Martial] can be kept fresh."

Ahead of hosting rivals Manchester City in the derby on Sunday, United have kept three clean sheets in their past four games.

Solskjaer praised his team's defence, while goalkeeper Sergio Romero made a late save from a Wayne Rooney free-kick to deny the Derby player-coach a goal against his former club.

"They're hungry for their clean sheets, aren't they? Fantastic save to be fair and he didn't read the script," he said.

"I'm very pleased with the performances and to go from being the favourites, having City, how that will affect their mindset, but it was professional."

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