Tahith Chong has attracted a large amount of attention in recent weeks. He was seemingly close to a move to Inter at the end of the season, with talks ongoing. The recent swerve of him signing a new deal at Manchester United did come as shock to many. But that shouldn’t trouble Inter too much in any way. They cleaned up all the transfer window lottery offers in January and will probably go big again in the summer.
It is crucial to remember that Chong is yet to score a single Manchester United goal this season. In all competitions, he has made 14 appearances in all competitions for United but is yet to score or assist. His record for the club’s Under-23s side has been impressive though and that is what led to him playing in the first-team under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He has contributed to 24 goals in 35 games for the Under-23s. Those are impressive numbers for a winger. But there is a popular feeling that if the Willemstadt-born Dutchman hadn’t suffered an ACL injury back in 2017, he would have been a much better player.
He is capable of playing on the left or on the right, having contributed to ten goals in just six games in Premier League 2. It is the impressive numbers like these that have seen his stock rise. Solskjaer knows of his talent and earlier this year, he did praise him.
He said: “I thought Tahith was fantastic tonight he caused loads of problems for them I was very very pleased with him.”
But the fact that Chong has always been a wide player should ring bells for Inter. Under Antonio Conte, the nerazzurri have always been using a 3-5-2 this season. Conte’s usual preference for having a workhorse play beside a target-man has carried on. Lautaro Martinez works his socks off, while Romelu Lukaku combined with him.
Inter signed Alexis Sanchez on loan from United. While the Chilean was injured for a big part of the season, he’s been versatile in roles. Young Sebastiano Esposito has earned the trust of Conte, having already made six Serie A appearances and scoring once.
While it is unknown whether Sanchez’s move will be made permanent or not, it is proof that Conte always has forwards who are actual forwards. That is reflected by how Matteo Politano has been let go to Napoli and how he was falling out of favour in the first half of the campaign.
For a player who is yet to score a single senior-team goal as a winger, it is very tough to see him as a striker in a 3-5-2 shape. One reason why Chong didn’t move to Inter is because of their plans to loan him out. That would have made sense for both parties. Chong could have potentially played in a wide position that he prefers and he could’ve developed at a smaller club, playing regularly. All in all, it doesn’t feel like much of a welcome bonus from Inter towards the player.
Inter would’ve got a free signing in the shape of him. While he might not have suited the system in place, they could have made a financial profit out of him in the future by moving him on. That should be the only thing they have to be concerned about when it comes to missing out on Chong.
No one knows if he could’ve gone onto become a regular the San Siro. But he was never a priority signing. It is time to move on for Beppe Marotta and Conte.