Report: Coronavirus Concerns Prompt Odion Ighalo Exclusion at Manchester United

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2020

Nigeria's forward Odion Ighalo celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) third place play-off football match between Tunisia and Nigeria at the Al Salam stadium in Cairo on July 17, 2019. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images)
KHALED DESOUKI/Getty Images

Manchester United loanee Odion Ighalo is being kept away from the club's Carrington training complex because of concerns over coronavirus.

The 30-year-old signed for United on deadline day, joining until the end of the season from Shanghai Shenhua.

The outbreak of coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, over 500 miles west of Shanghai, has killed over 1,350 people in the country, per BBC News.

Per David McDonnell of the Mirror, the risks of Ighalo having been exposed to coronavirus are "statistically minute," but United have taken the precaution of having him work with personal trainer Wayne Richardson at the GB Taekwondo Centre in Manchester.

Meanwhile, he has also not travelled with the rest of the squad to Marbella, Spain, for warm-weather training during the Premier League winter break because of concerns he may not be able to re-enter the country, as explained by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, per McDonnell:

"Odion will stay in Manchester, because since he has come from China in the last 14 days, the news of the virus there means we're not sure if he's going to be allowed back into England if he leaves the country again.

"So he's staying here working with a personal coach on an individual programme and his family then can settle in England as well. That's a plus.

"Of course, he might have liked to have come with the players and got to know them, but we don’t want to take that risk [of potential border restrictions tightening]."

Ighalo will finally join up with his new team-mates on Friday ahead of Monday's Premier League match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Solskjaer has already confirmed the striker will be part of the squad that travels to west London for a crucial fixture in the race for the top four.

The game is crucial to United's hopes of securing a top-four finish and UEFA Champions League football in 2020-21.

At the moment, winning the UEFA Europa League looks like United's best route into Europe's elite competition; a run of three games without a win has seen the Red Devils drop down to eighth in the Premier League table:

If United can beat fourth-placed Chelsea, though, they will be firmly back in the running for the top four.

At Stamford Bridge, they will have to break a run of three league games without scoring a goal since Marcus Rashford was sidelined through injury.

Ighalo, who scored 15 goals in the 2015-16 Premier League season when he was at Watford, could have a key role to play in United getting back on the scoresheet. 

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