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Paul Merson would be shocked if striker rejects permanent move to Man United: report

Former Arsenal star Paul Merson has said that he would be shocked, if Odion Ighalo declined the option of signing a permanent deal with Manchester United at the end of the campaign.

The 30-year-old was a surprise signing for the Red Devils on transfer deadline-day in January after he made the switch from Shanghai Shenhua on a short-term loan deal.

Initially there were doubts whether he would make any impact for the club but he has managed to prove his worth with four goals and one assist from eight appearances to date.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already hinted that the club could sign the striker on a permanent basis but Shenhua are keen to keep hold of him, having offered a £400,000-a-week contract extension.

Ighalo has previously stated that he is living the dream of playing for the club he has supported from his childhood days and Merson admits that he would be shocked, if the striker walks away from a permanent contract at United.

“He’s said all the right things since joining Manchester United. He’s turned around enough times and said he’s dreamed of playing for United,” he told Sky Sports as relayed by Metro.

“If they do offer him a permanent deal, I can’t see him turning it down. Everything’s gone right for him so far and if United do offer him a chance to stay, I’d be shocked if he walked away.”

In his first interview, Ighalo acknowledged that he took a pay-cut to realise the dream of playing for the Red Devils and The Sun has since revealed that he earns around £180,000-a-week at Old Trafford excluding bonuses.

Should United offer to sign him permanently, they are unlikely to raise the salary, and it remains to be seen whether he will commit his long-term future to the club while ignoring the bumper wage offer from Shenhua.

Shenhua are said to demand a £15m fee in order to part ways with Ighalo.