Manchester United forward Odion Ighalo is unable to join the rest of the squad for their Spanish training camp for fear of potential travel restrictions due to the threat of the coronavirus.
Ighalo made a shock transfer to United from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua in the final minutes of the January transfer window.
However, due to the outbreak of the coronanvirus in China which has led to over 600 deaths in the country, Ighalo will not be able to train alongside his new teammates during the winter break as there are concerns he may not be allowed to re-enter England.
“Odion will stay in Manchester, because he arrived from China in the last 14 days,” manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told United’s website.
“Because of the situation in China, we’re not sure if he’d be allowed back into England if he leaves the country again, so he’s staying here working with a personal coach, 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 the risk [of potential border restrictions tightening], we don’t want to take that.”
Sources have ESPN Ighalo’s absence from the training camp means he is unlikely to feature in United’s next game at Chelsea on Feb. 17. His debut could come in the following match against former club Watford on Feb. 23.
Meanwhile, the winter break will allow Solskjaer a closer look at another new January arrival in Bruno Fernandes, who has so far made one appearance for the club, having started the 0-0 draw against Wolves.
“I’ve kept in touch with him,” Solskjaer said of Fernandes. “He’s had a few days back home to organise.
“He’s going to have to move and say his goodbyes back home, so he’s ready. He wasn’t 100% happy with his debut and there’s more to come, so that’s a good sign.”