Can Man United avoid another Pogba repeat with Chong, Gomes?
Background Image Via: Flickr/Daniel. CC BY 2.0.
Manchester United Football Club has been synonymous with promoting youth. That has always been their mantra. From Busby's Babes to the Class of 92, the Red Devils' rich history with giving young up-and-comers their chance has been the foundation for their success.
Every now and then, one will slip through the net. That's natural. Paul Pogba was reluctantly allowed to switch Old Trafford for Juventus - only for the Frenchman to go onto superstardom. It'd cost the 20-time Premier League champions £80million to bring him back 'home'. Lightning could be about to strike twice in that regard. Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong both having winding down contracts, leaving United with a decision to make.
Right now, the pair are free to talk to overseas clubs about signing a pre-contract ahead of a summer move. United are intent on tying both down to new deals, though Gomes and Chong are apparently 'open' to leaving should a better opportunity arise. The question is this. How hard should United push to keep ahold of their starlets?
It'll come down to one of two things; playing time or a big payday. United are in the fortunate position that they can offer bigger wages than most, though if it's on-field minutes that Gomes and Chong are craving, the Red Devils could have a serious problem on their hands.
Chong has played eight senior games this term, four of which have been starts. He's yet to complete 90 minutes for United, while the Dutchman hasn't made a single Premier League start, either. Stats-wise, the fluffy-haired 20-year-old is yet to register a goal or assist in 2019/20. Gomes has fared even worse. The Englishman has featured in six games, making three starts. Like Chong, Gomes hasn't scored nor picked up an assist this term. The fact that both have been utilised so sparingly has angered fans - particularly when the alternatives (moreso in Gomes' case) have offered little-to-nothing.
It's fair to say Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been hesitant in regards to playing both in big games. In doing so, the Baby Faced Assassin is hardly giving Chong and Gomes a reason to stay - unless they want to sit on the fringes of the squad while collecting mega-money for players of their age and experience.
That said, the onus falls on their shoulders, too. After having stellar pre-season tours, big things were expected. Both have torn it up at reserve level but failed to make the first-team jump. Chong looks raw, lightweight and somewhat scared with the ball at his feet. Gomes hasn't really been that creative influence that many expected he would be. That's why the decision United have to make is a finely balanced one...
It's the risk-reward factor. Do United let these two walk away, only to potentially see them tearing it up for new teams next season? Clubs like Inter Milan, Juventus and FC Barcelona have shown an interest. These are mega-talented players we're talking about here, though they're yet to show their full potential.
Or do United give into their demands? Either financial or in terms of on-field minutes. The former means less money to potentially offer new signings, while the latter could hamper the development and growth of other players. I also don't think it's a stretch to state that if Chong and Gomes fail in the first-team next season, it could be a contributing factor towards Solskjaer losing his job...
The margins are so slim. United fan furore would undoubtedly be worse if one (or both) are allowed to leave, though I consider myself old-fashioned in the sense that a club with their stature shouldn't bow down to anyone. To this day, I believe it was the right decision to let Pogba go back in 2012 - and I wouldn't be overly disappointed if the same situation plays out again... Maybe some sort of buyback clause would be nice though...