Tahith Chong was all set to sign for Chelsea before Manchester United swooped in and lured him away from a Premier League rival, the Red Devils’ former head of youth recruitment has revealed.
Now 19 years of age, the Dutchman is considered to be one of the hottest prospects within the Old Trafford academy system.
United are hoping to be the ones to benefit from Chong’s undoubted potential, with the club having worked hard to secure his services and prevent him from linking up with a domestic foe.
Derek Langley told the Manchester Evening News on how the youngster ended up being a red rather than a blue: "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 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, so 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 lie at United."
Having starred for United’s youth teams over recent years, he was promoted to the senior ranks last summer.
Jose Mourinho included him in the Red Devils’ pre-season plans, as they finalised their preparations for 2018-19 on American soil.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer then handed him his big break in a cup clash with Reading, and the youngster impressed during a second-half cameo off the bench.
He will be hoping to see more minutes before the season comes to a close, with the target now being to follow fellow academy graduate Angel Gomes into Premier League action.