Manchester United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has dangled the carrot of a permanent move to Odion Ighalo to join his boyhood club should he impress between now and the end of the season.
This is coming few hours to of a Premier League blockbuster match between the Blues and Reds, with Chelsea hosting United on Monday night.
Solskjaer’s men are languishing in ninth, but can move to within two points of fifth with a third victory over Chelsea this season.
United have been offered a lifeline in their quest to return to the Champions League next season with Manchester City’s potential two-season ban from European competition meaning fifth in the Premier League could be enough to qualify.
Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford will be absent for another few weeks, placing a heavy burden on deadline-day loan signing Ighalo to score the goals that can haul United up the table.
Ighalo has had a far from ideal start to his United career, Skysports reports.
The Nigerian joined up with the United squad for the first time on Sunday after a two-week precautionary quarantine following his arrival from Shanghai Shenua.
“It’s a loan but when you are in the door here and if you impress it gives you a chance,” said Solskjaer. “That is exactly the same for anyone who signs, if it is permanent or a loan.
“If you impress as a player and as a person, if you can help this group improve, of course there is a chance that we will look at extending things.”