Birmingham City have put themselves in a strong position by exploiting the potential of Tahith Chong at the start of the season.
Chong had his loan spell shortened and has returned to Manchester United to receive treatment for a groin injury set to rule him until the final few months of the season.
The 21-year-old’s contract at Old Trafford expires at the end of the season, and therefore the Red Devils will explore fixed destinations for the Dutchman in the next period.
The club reserves the right to extend Chong’s contract for another year, but with the performances they got out of him and how clear he looked in a Blues jersey, Birmingham City must throw their name in the hat as a potential suitor.
Birmingham can not compete with a club the size of Manchester United in terms of matching the salary Chong currently has, but with the money they brought in through the sale of Jude Bellingham a few years ago, there could be funds to give up an attractive offer.
Lee Bowyer has improved Birmingham tenfold on the pitch and is working on the prospects for the club, who have been very content to just maintain their second team status over the last couple of seasons.
Chong showed his quality in flashes in previous loan spells with Werder Bremen and Club Brugge, but he did not affect the matches as strongly as he did in Birmingham. It would be a statement of intent to pick up a player with a clearly high potential who is apparently approaching a crossroads in his career.
With the influx of attacking players at Old Trafford this summer, Chong’s hopes of breaking into the first team again seem like just a dream. Staying in England would give him the chance to prove his doubts wrong in the future and keep the dream of becoming a solid starter in the Premier League alive.
Quiz: Has Birmingham City ever won an away game at each of these 20 stadiums?
This is a pretty long shot in practice, but after a few turbulent years on and off the pitch for the young player, a destination where he knows he will be loved by fans who contain happy memories could be an attractive proposition for the blues to exploit.