Manchester United’s Deadline Day signing Odion Ighalo will go straight into the squad for the Monday Night Football clash at Chelsea, despite missing the club’s warm-weather training camp due to travel restriction concerns.
The 30-year-old completed a shock loan switch from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua at the end of January, but did not head to Spain with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad because of the coronavirus outbreak.
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 back to return to the country, having arrived from China in the previous fortnight.
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Chelsea vs Man Utd
February 17, 2020, 7:00pm
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But despite missing the trip to Marbella, Solskjaer has confirmed that the striker will go straight into the squad taking on Chelsea after the winter break.
“Yeah, he is going to travel with us,” he told club media.
“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.”
Woodward: Summer important in rebuild
Ed Woodward has told a Manchester United fans forum that they see this summer as an “important opportunity” in the club’s rebuild but has acknowledged they “are not yet where we want to be” in challenging for titles.
United’s board and executive vice-chairman, Woodward, have come in for criticism from supporters with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side currently eighth in the Premier League after struggling with inconsistency throughout the campaign.
“The signing this week of Bruno Fernandes and return of key players from injury will be a boost to Ole and the squad as we head into the second half of the season,” Woodward said in remarks read at the meeting.
“We remain in contention in the Europa League and the FA Cup, as well as for Champions League qualification, so there is still lots to play for.
“However, as a club and a board, we do recognise that we are not yet where we want to be. It is the overwhelming priority of everyone at the club to get us back to regularly challenging for Premier League and Champions League titles.
“Although progress may not always be smooth, everyone across the club is focused and committed on playing their part in helping achieve those aims.
“Significant work has already been done – and investments made – to strengthen the academy and we’re pleased with the progress being made behind-the-scenes to ensure we have the right players, the right infrastructure, and the right culture to sustain long-term success.
“Similarly, there has been extensive work on our recruitment process, with considerable investment in scouting, data and analytics. The recruitment department is working to a clear plan and philosophy, along with Ole and his coaching staff.
“Our focus is on bringing in a combination of experience and the best young players with potential to develop further, fusing graduates from our academy with high-quality acquisitions.