The Red Devils announced the news on Monday, just hours after transfer expert Fabrizio Romano reported the forward didn't sign an agreement with the Nerazzurri because they had planned on loaning him out:
Fabrizio Romano @FabrizioRomano
Tahith Chong has an agreement with Inter as a free agent, but Inter want to loan him out... that’s why he hasn’t signed yet. Man United last Friday told him they’re ready to offer a new contract until June 2025 if Chong will not choose Inter (and loan...). 🔴 #MUFC #transfers
It's a stunning reversal from Chong, who seemed all but certain to depart Old Trafford as a free agent until recently. The new deal will keep him at the club until 2022 and includes an option for an additional year.
In an interview with the club's official website, the Netherlands native said he believes United presents the best opportunity for him to develop:
"When I joined Manchester United as a youngster, it was a dream come true. It is an honour every time I pull on the shirt and represent this club. I am working hard every day to improve and I know this is the perfect environment to develop my game.
"The opportunity to learn from the manager, his coaching staff and the world-class players here is fantastic. I am delighted to sign this new contract and really grateful for the chance to prove myself here for many years to come."
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised his potential and work ethic.
The 20-year-old has long been regarded as one of the best prospects in the United academy after moving from Feyenoord in 2016, but his tremendous displays for the youth sides have yet to translate to the senior squad.
Unlike Brandon Williams and Mason Greenwood, he has played a minor role at the highest level, and his performances have not warranted a bigger role. The 6'1" winger has made 10 appearances this season, with three in the Premier League.
The potential is there, however, per Simon Peach of the Press Association:
Simon Peach @SimonPeach
Fair to say Tahith Chong has yet to shine for the first-team, but the 20-year-old has shown great potential in #MUFC's development system. This seems a smart deal. Solskjaer: "Tahith has great potential; given his age, ability & work-ethic, we can see that he has a bright future"
A two-year contract with the option for a third season seems a perfect compromise for both parties. Chong will have the chance to continue his development, and if his playing time doesn't increase in the near future, he can reassess his options in 2022 or 2023. Meanwhile, United don't lose control over one of their most promising youngsters just yet.
It is a big blow for Inter, who appeared to have the Dutchman's path at the club planned out already:
Chong was born in Curacao but has Chinese ancestry, which would have made him a valuable marketing tool for the Nerazzurri. The Chinese Sunings Holding Group has owned the club since 2016 and has been slowly rebuilding the Italian giant, investing in the academy and young talents like Lautaro Martinez and Nicolo Barella.