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One for the Future: Tahith Chong

Manchester United have been looking to restructure the Old Trafford club’s Academy since Nicky Butt was appointed as the head of it. Many top European players have been brought to the club since the start of the year, even before Butt was announced to the media. We have seen the likes of Indy Boonen, Ilias Moutha-Sebtaoui and other from Europe join the club with players from the rest of the world, including Matt Olosunde also joining the ranks of the Academy. This summer, Netherlands U17 international Tahith Chong will make the move from Feyenoord to the AON Training Complex. The talented 16-year-old, who has not yet been announced as a new signing by the club, was chased by the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea before United secured the deal, which has been confirmed by the player himself. At that time, Chong was quoted by FR12.nl as saying:

“It’s true that Manchester United are interested in me, but I just want to stay at Feyenoord.”

Chong seemed to want to remain with Feyenoord at the time, but things can change quickly as it seemed to in this case. A month passed and it seemed that Chong had seen what United could offer him, revealing to Elf Voetbal, which was reported by The Mirror:

“It was my intention to stay at Feyenoord, but no plan was made for me.

“When I said I wanted to leave, they made a plan. That was too late.

“At Manchester United I had a better feeling.

“You can feel it immediately when you walk in a club.”

It would seem that Feyenoord is losing a talented player, one who could fight for a place in the U21 squad within a year, which seems to be his plan. The U18 squad last season suffered a lot of misfortune; the likes of Marcus Rashford and Timothy Fosu-Mensah were promoted to the U21 squad and eventually made the first team, then there were many injuries in the squad – which was a cause of the twelve league matches the squad lost, which also saw Paul McGuinness leave the club for pastures new. United bringing in young talent like Chong will do wonders for the U18’s this coming season, where they will be looking to show that last season is behind them and looking to achieve what they clearly failed. Manchester City has been constantly praised for their Academy – one which has no real progression into the first team – which in my mind is the signs of failure as many talented players will become disgruntled, as has been the case, with them looking for clubs to learn their trade and have their chances to progress.

Tahith Chong was born in Willemstad in Curacao, a Dutch-Caribbean island. He moved to Feyenoord’s Academy when he was 10 years old. Chong is a striker, but can play on the wing or in midfield. He is left-footed and has the pace to destroy his opposition. He seems like the type of player which Manchester United have brought through their ranks many times before – a player that will thrive at the club, as long as he is played to his strengths. Chong, speaking to FR12.nl but reported by The Mirror, spoke about his move to the Old Trafford club saying:

“I start in Manchester in the A1 [academy] and may sometimes take part in Manchester United U21’s.

“I’ve been there a few times and I am definitely impressed by the club. United have good accommodation for youth players and it is up to me to make that step. My parents will go to England and it’s good to have their support there.”

Chong continued about his move to the Old Trafford club, also suggesting that he would have liked to stay at Feyenoord, but it would seem that they were either not interested in securing him quickly, or, made a massive error in letting United get in to sign the player. Once Chong had spoken to United, that was all he needed. Money does not seem to be his motivation, which is a good thing in this day and age. Chong said:

“We were talking about a contract. I would have liked to stay longer at Feyenoord because it’s my club.

“The discussions were very vague and I had expected more of it. Only after that conversation, I went to talk to Manchester United and I chose this.

“Many people call it I do it for the money, but I’m not a money grab. I choose the sporting adventure and for me, it is now time to look forward.”

Do you think Tahith Chong could be a success at Manchester United?

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