Opinion: United have extended Tahith Chong's contract so he can be sold
You have to go back to 2018 to find the time Manchester United fans were really optimistic about Tahith Chong’s potential emergence.
The winger was given his chance by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the Europa League in 2019, and while Mason Greenwood shone and seized his opportunity, Chong could not grabe his.
The Dutchman looked nervous and tentative, and that was before he missed an open goal in the away tie at Astana. It was clear the young winger was not ready.
Chong is now on his third loan since then. Spells at Werder Bremen and Club Brugge last season were unproductive and this year he ended up at Birmingham City.
He was a big hit at Birmingham early in the campaign before suffering an injury. After making his return last month, he was hit with another injury setback at the weekend, substituted 56 minutes into their win over West Brom.
Making sense of Chong’s new contract
The Mirror reported this weekend that Manchester United have triggered an extension in Chong’s contract, which was set to expire in June.
The first question which springs to mind is ‘why?’
Chong does not appear to have a future at United. He is 22 and has not played for the first team since 2020, although did play and score in pre-season.
United have become notorious in recent seasons for extending players’ contract for too long, because they are afraid of losing them on free transfers. This is why Phil Jones and Andreas Pereira are still at the club, and Marcos Rojo stayed so long.
Chong’s situation is slightly different. This is just a one-year extension from United, rather than a long-term commitment.
Instead what we would expect now is for Chong to be sold by Manchester United this summer. This looks to be the purpose of the additional year extension.
A small fee
United have invested time and money into Chong since he was signed from Feyenoord as a teenager, but at this point its probable to say, it just isn’t going to happen for him at Old Trafford.
Rather than lose him on a free transfer this summer, United can auction him off for a small fee and get a little bit back.
Transfermarkt list Chong’s value at £3.6 million. This isn’t much, but its good money if United can get it, versus just letting him go for free.
Chong has done well at Birmingham when he has played, proving his quality at Championship level, and there could be a few clubs in the division who take a look at him. United may even get up to £5 million for him.
There is still a good player in there. Chong has shown potential for Birmingham this season, even playing in a new more central midfield role at the start of the campaign. At 22, he can still have a good career ahead of him.
If Bebe is still going and netting goals in La Liga at the age of 31, Chong should be hopeful he can flourish too.
Of course he could get one last chance to try and make a mark on United’s new manager in pre-season and earn a longer term deal, but this is probably the end of the line for the youngster at Old Trafford.