Ole Gunnar Solskjær promised he would give youth a chance when he got the Manchester United job. Has he delivered on that promise? You could say he has in some ways; Mason Greenwood and Dan James have been featuring regularly for the side, performing well too. Brandon Williams has recently come into the fold. But the likes of Angel Gomes, James Garner and Tahith Chong may feel they deserve more minutes. The latter in particular could be tempted with a move away.
The Dutch U21 international has featured just 8 times in the last two seasons for the Red Devils. This includes cup games, Europa League, etc, perhaps slightly worrying considering the meteoric rise of Greenwood. Multiple outlets, including the Daily Mail and MEN, are reporting that Chong will NOT renew his contract with United amid interest from Juventus.
Tahith Chong – Paul Pogba 2.0?
Immediately, this rings alarm bells about Paul Pogba. Young, talented player not getting minutes for the first team leaves for Turin and becomes a star, only for his former side to sign him for £89 million. Costly mistake to say the least. The fear of making the same mistake may prompt Solskjaer to offer Chong a bumper contract with a guarantee of more minutes. It’s a small price to pay if it stops him from becoming a £100 million star for the Bianconeri.
However, this could be a reactionary panic move from United. If the likes of Greenwood, who’s younger than Chong, are getting frequent minutes, surely there is a door open for the Feyenoord youth product into the first team? That does bring forward the question whether he’s good enough. If he’s struggling to get minutes outside of the top flight games, that isn’t an encouraging sign for United fans.
The 19 year old has been impressive for the U23s this season. 4 goals and 2 assists in 3 games suggests he is playing well. But 24 Premier League minutes isn’t a true reflection of that.
Do the Old Lady know best?
If Juventus, a team now known for striking the best free transfer deals in world football, see something in Chong, that’s perhaps a sign to the hierarchy they need to keep him at Old Trafford. Letting another young talent walk away for nothing would be catastrophic on and off the pitch for the club. They’re proud of their youth academy and giving academy graduates a chance, a massive part of the club’s reputation. They can’t afford to damage that for PR, especially considering the current side is not performing well.
As for Tahith Chong, this is a good situation. He either gets a move to the Italian champions, getting minutes on the pitch, winning silverware and potentially progressing his career. Or he puts pressure on Ole to play him more and gets his chance to prove himself. Only time will tell if the Dutchman is good enough. As a Premier League fan, I hope he can prove himself in Manchester.
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