Man Utd transfer news: Star was ‘on the VERGE of signing for Chelsea’
The 19-year-old was signed from Feyenoord in 2016 and immediately made an impression as part of Kieran McKenna’s U18 side.
Chong has since worked his way up through the Manchester United academy, impressing in the Under 23s with then-manager Jose Mourinho keeping tabs.
The talented winger travelled with the senior squad to Newcastle at the start of the year and this month he came off the bench against Reading in the FA Cup to make his debut.
But things may have been very different for Netherlands U21 international had he opted to sign for Chelsea in his younger days.
United’s former head of youth recruitment, Derek Langley, has now revealed how Chong was set to move to west London before he convinced the player and his parents to stay at Old Trafford.
“Tahith was spotted when he was a 14/15-year-old playing in a tournament at Carrington. What used to be the Nike Premier Cup,” he told the Manchester Evening News.
“He had already been tipped by our scouts in Holland and basically I followed him at that tournament and then I followed him all over Europe.
“Tahith’s parents would be the first to tell you that his form dipped slightly due to growth issues so at that time I just held fire. I carried on watching him and realised his form was coming back.
“He was on the verge of signing for Chelsea and I managed to convince his parents and the boy his future lied at United.”
Chong will now hope to kick on for the remainder of the season by earning his first Premier League appearance.
With Ole Gunanr Solskjaer juggling league, FA Cup and Champions League fixtures in the coming months, the Norwegian is likely to rotate his squad.
Solskjaer is keen to give younger players a chance under his leadership and recent reports suggested he even blocked a loan move for Chong this month as he hopes to use him for the remainder of the campaign.
United’s next match comes on Sunday when they travel to Wembley to take on Tottenham.
The following Saturday they host Brighton at Old Trafford before turning their attention to the FA Cup with a trip to Arsenal on Saturday, January 26.