An up and down year has finished for Manchester United loanee Tahith Chong.
His campaign for two clubs can be summed up by the fact one of his two teams won a title, and the other were relegated. And he was a peripheral figure in both.
Club Brugge clinched the Belgian title for a fourth successive year last week with a 2-1 win over Royal Antwerp sealing the victory.
Chong was a final minute substitute in that game. In the final month of the run-in, the Manchester United loanee played just 16 minutes of action, with his last start coming on April 3.
His loan spell in Belgium began promisingly but he could not hold down a regular place in the side and was sidelined for the games that really mattered.
Chong did get one last chance to say goodbye, featuring as a substitute in Club Brugge’s final game of the season, a 2-1 loss to Genk.
The winger played the final 24 minutes and managed to provide an assist by setting up his side’s only goal.
Chong ended his spell in Belgium with 13 appearances, seven of which were starts. He scored one goal and provided four assists. The productivity was not bad, but his all round game was lacking and this saw him lose his place in the team.
A slight improvement on his German experience
Five league starts in Belgium was a minor improvement on the four league starts in Germany which Chong made.
Chong began the campaign on loan with Werder Bremen, but struggled to make an impact in the Bundesliga.
He failed to score and provided just one assist. By time January had come around, Chong had lost his place in the team altogether.
Bremen ended the season terribly, regardless, in 17th of 18th place as they lost four of their last five games to get relegated.
The club were seen as a potential place where Chong could kick on like their former players Kevin de Bruyne and Serge Gnabry once did. Chong could not manage it, but Werder’s relegation showed that it was a lot tougher to make an impact in such a poor side.
What next for Chong?
Relegated or title winners, it made no difference. The managers of both of Chong’s loan clubs came to the same conclusion during his loan spell, that he did not warrant a regular starting place.
This has been a year of development for Chong regardless, and an improvement on under-23 football, but neither of his spells were success stories.
He needed to return to United with more momentum, and there is next to no chance of him being good enough to make Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side next season, even if he has a bright pre-season.
Chong has just one year left on the contract he signed last year, and while there is an option to extend it, and send him on another loan, it is quite probable he will end up getting sold.
This might be for the best, for Chong. A move to the Portuguese league or back to Belgium with a different club may suit him, or a return to Holland.
The young Dutchman has talent, and he may get there eventually, but he is on a different trajectory for United, who cannot afford to wait for him to catch up any longer.
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