Why Man United should keep hold of Tahith Chong amidst Juventus links
Chong, who made his senior professional bow for the Red Devils in an FA Cup tie against Reading last season, will be out of contract at Old Trafford at the end of the ongoing campaign. Talks between the club and the player over a new deal are yet to reach a positive end. (h/t Daily Mail)
Juventus’ interest in Tahith Chong mirrors the scenario back in 2012 when Paul Pogba left United to join the Serie A champions on a free transfer, only for the Red Devils to fork out a club-record £89million to bring the Frenchman back four years later.
The jet-heeled winger, 19, spent seven years in the youth system of Feyenoord before completing a move to Man United back in 2016.
Having starred for the Red Devils at various age-group levels in the UEFA Youth League and the Premier League 2, the Dutch starlet has reaped the benefits of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s policy of blooding academy prospects in the first-team.
Along with fellow academy starlets Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, James Garner and Brandon Williams, Chong is capable of establishing himself as one of the mainstays of United’s first-team in the years to come.
Chong has made a total of 3 appearances for United across all competitions this season but he has been omitted from five of the last seven matchday squads, with his last start coming in the penalty-shootout victory over Rochdale in the EFL Cup.
As per the report, Chong impressed Juve’s representatives while playing against Doncaster in the Football League Trophy and the Serie A giants are keen to step up their pursuit in the coming months.
Juventus snapped up Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot from Arsenal and PSG respectively on Bosman transfers this summer and Tahith Chong could be the next in the queue.
As evident from his limited first-team involvement this term, Chong is not yet a finished article capable of tormenting defences in the Premier League but United would be better off looking at him as one for the future.
Excelling in the Premier League 2 is hardly a test of his Premier League credentials. To that end, sending him out on loan to some Championship club would make his transition to the senior level a lot smoother.
That is the whole point of the loan system and almost all youngsters, barring a select few, have to go through several stages in their development and Chong is no exception.
The 19-year-old has all the raw materials to evolve into a top-quality winger but there are several other areas of his game that are in need of polishing.
For the time being though, United would do the right thing by offering Chong a new long-term deal.
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The teenager needs to play regularly to hone his skills effectively and playing a bit-part role at Old Trafford isn’t going to do him any good.
With that in mind, parting ways with Tahith Chong on a free transfer would be a huge blow to Solskjaer’s plans. In fact, it would be a blunder that the Red Devils just cannot afford to commit at the moment.