Manchester United youngster Tahith Chong has decided against signing a new contract, and will instead look to leave Old Trafford for free next summer – according to a report in Italy.
The 19-year-old is regarded as one of the brighter prospects to emerge from United’s famed academy in recent years, and has been tipped for great things despite failing to break into the first-team picture on a regular basis.
The Dutch Under-21 international’s contract is up in the summer, and recently he’s been linked with a move to Serie A champions Juventus – who famously nabbed Paul Pogba from United on a free transfer seven years ago, before selling him back to the Red Devils for a then-world record fee of £89.3m.
Now, Italian publication Calciomercato claim that Chong may follow a similar career path to his teammate, after deciding against extending his contract in Manchester. They also report that Juventus will ‘move seriously’ for the young winger, as they wish to replicate their successful purchase of Pogba in 2012.
Juve are no strangers to muscling in on some of Europe’s top talents for free, having become renowned over the years for snaring players at the end of their contracts.
Aaron Ramsey, Emre Can and Adrien Rabiot are three recent example of players moving to Turin for nothing, following in the footsteps of three greats in Fabio Cannavaro, Andrea Pirlo and Dani Alves.
Chong’s agent Erkan Alkan, meanwhile, has previously told Dutch publication Voetbal International that he’s ‘quietly waiting’ for United to offer an extension to his contract, but since that interview, there has been very little movement in the public domain.
Last summer, Chong decided against leaving Old Trafford on loan in favour of fighting a for a first team place, but he’s shown little sign of forcing into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on a regular basis. He’s made four appearances this season, in the Europa League and Carabao Cup, but hasn’t been since appearing from the bench during the 1-0 defeat to Newcastle last month.
Were he to leave, he’d likely find first team chances hard to come by at La Vecchia Signora, unless he shows significant improvement in training sessions over the next year or so.