Tahith Chong ended speculation over his future by signing a new Manchester United contract.
The club announced the news on Monday evening, and Chong left a message on social media saying the extension was a dream come true.
Chong has edged towards the first team this season, playing 209 minutes of Europa League football, including two starts.
He has one start in the FA Cup, but has played only 34 minutes in the Premier League across three substitute appearances.
As a result he has not yet been able to show supporters what he is really about and reproduce his impressive under-23 form to the first team. Yet.
This is the important point. Chong is on the cusp of a breakthrough. Having done the hard work in identifying the player’s talent at a young age, helping him recover from a serious knee injury, and easing him into the first team, it would have been frustrating to see him sign somewhere else and be a big success.
Chong is not a surefire bet to be a superstar. He’s only 19, and he could be very good. Or he might not turn out to be good enough for United’s level.
It’s better for us to back up our initial investment and wait to see how he develops, rather than watch him succeed or fail elsewhere. We have retained the upside of his future by keeping him.
Chong has a lot to prove still, and it may be out on loan next season initially.
The way it was going, it would have been easy to understand Chong leaving. He could have fast-tracked his career and gone to a club where he would play more regularly.
His message on social media shows he has sought the advice of those around him and considered his decision carefully.
United have obviously sold him a plan, whether that be a quicker route into the team, or a loan move at first, Chong has bought in.
He is a player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants around, with the manager stating: “Tahith has great potential; given his age, ability and work-ethic, we can see that he has a bright future at Manchester United.”
Chong’s choice to stay shows Solskjaer too is moving the club in the right direction. Players want to be a part of what’s happening at Old Trafford.
Supporters are still waiting to be completely sold on Chong, who has been prolific goalscorer an creative force at under-23 level, and just one assist for the first team so far.
Despite this, fans are in favour of the decision to keep the young Dutchman, even if slightly surprised the teenager chose to stay.
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