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Ighalo set for Man Utd debut against Chelsea, Solskjaer confirms

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that Odion Ighalo will be included in Manchester United's squad to face Chelsea next Monday.

Ighalo signed for the Red Devils on a six-month loan deal from Shanghai Shenhua on deadline day, realising a life-long dream in the process.

The Nigeria international did not join his new team-mates in Marbella for the club's warm-weather training camp, however, due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in China.

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The 30-year-old has been undertaking fitness sessions with performance coach Wayne Richardson in Manchester instead, while also working alongside Great Britain’s Olympic Taekwondo team.

Richardson has been impressed by Ighalo's professionalism, describing the striker as a "good, honest athlete" who will not be fazed by the weight of expectations at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer has now revealed that Ighalo could be in line to make his debut against Chelsea, insisting he will be brought up to speed by the club's fitness staff over the next few days.

“Yeah, he is going to travel with us. We will just see his fitness work this week and I think we will get him sharp," Solskjaer told United's official website.

"We want to integrate him as quickly as we can because, of course, he is desperate to play for us.”

When asked how the rest of the squad have been progressing in Spain during the Premier League's winter break, Solskjaer responded: “Yeah, it's very good. I think the boys enjoyed a break, they needed a break, but now they are back, focused and they have been working well.

"Of course with the weather back home as well, this has been an even bigger plus for us. Being in Europe, because the travel isn't too far, is also a good point because we don't have too many days before we have to go back and get ready for Chelsea.”

United are in dire need of a victory at Stamford Bridge next week, having already fallen six points behind their rivals in the race for the final Champions League spot.

Ex-goalkeeper Mark Bosnich, who took in two separate spells at Old Trafford over the course of his career, believes United's top-four hopes will be over if they lose against Chelsea, but he thinks €55 million (£47m/£60m) signing Bruno Fernandes could end up being the difference between the two sides.

Fernandes signed for United from Sporting CP during the January window, and produced an impressive debut display during a 0-0 draw against Wolves on February 1.

After their latest Premier League outing, the Red Devils will turn their attention to a Europa League last 32 first-leg meeting with Club Brugge in Belgium.