Tahith Chong was substituted after 78 minutes of Club Brugge’s 2-1 win over Kortrijk at the weekend.
It was the third game in a row the Manchester United loanee had failed to score or provide an assist, after a promising start.
Chong has three assists in total, and one goal, from nine appearances.
The Dutchman signed for Club Brugge in January after a very disappointing spell in Germany with Werder Bremen where he started only four Bundesliga games.
Chong has surpassed this number of league starts in Belgium already, with five, but his performances have not been convincing.
So much so that former Belgian international Gurt Verheyen, who played at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, has warned his old club about signing the Manchester United talent.
Verheyen told Nieuwsblad: “Tahith Chong is an elegant player. What the wing does at Club Brugge looks good. However, if you look at what his actions lead to, the balance is poor. He did not persevere against an aggressive Charleroi, nor against an aggressive Kortrijk. And also in the first half against a more virile AA Gent he brought almost nothing.
“When did he pay off? Against OHL, Zulte Waregem and Waasland-Beveren. When he runs and the team is much stronger than the opponent. In fact, you see too much of an U21 player in him who has yet to take the step to men’s football. Nor does he have any figures.
“His only goal fell against Olsa Brakel. He may have four assists, but only one of them is a real one: he passed his man against Zulte Waregem and served Lang. And the rest? A shot that was parried, which Sobol scored in the rebound, is not an assist. The ball wide against OHL, after which Van Der Brempt shook a fantastic action, is not an assist. Neither is the pass in his own half to Lang, who crossed the entire field against Waasland-Beveren.
“His achievements do not justify renting Chong from Man United any longer, let alone buying him.”
A strong finish to the season is needed
Chong is keen to stay at Club Brugge, quoted by The Mirror last month saying: “Staying here for another year could give me stability, but that’s for later. As far as I know, there is no option in the agreement, we will have to discuss that with Manchester United later.
“I have to get used to the rhythm: playing five, six games in a row… I never did that before.”
Verheyen is right to acknowledge Chong needs to improve. He hasn’t suddenly transformed his game overnight.
What Club Brugge want to see is steady improvement, and his most recent performance did not really demonstrate it.
Chong failed to land a shot on target, create a chance, and completed just one dribble. He won six fouls, which showed how he worried the opposition, while also proving a little to lightweight to cause any real damage.
With questions arising over his contribution, Chong needs to finish the season strongly for Club Brugge, to show them he is worth bringing back, on loan or permanently.
It is probably overly optimistic to suggest Chong will make it as a Manchester United player at this point.
This year has been a frustrating one for him with his disappointing stint at Werder Bremen, and he has not build up enough momentum to challenge for a place at Old Trafford.
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