That Théo Bongonda had the chance to sign at Manchester City isn’t really a secret.
The Belgian winger, currently having a good time at RKC Genk, spent a month at the Premier League club’s academy when he was younger, travelling there with a certain Jason Denayer, who eventually signed for the Etihad based club.
Bongonda didn’t, explaining in an interview with Sport/Foot a while back that he chose to pass on the opportunity because he ‘realised it would be very difficult to make it’.
This wasn’t some throwaway quote to sound like it was the right decision after all these years, because his father has since corroborated this in a chat with DH about his son.
Speaking to the Belgian website about the trial his son had at Manchester City, Jean-Philippe Bongonda revealed all.
He said: “Jason Denayer came too. We went together. They both shined and could have signed a nice contract there. Jason, who was crazy about being able to play at the same club as his idol, Kompany, signed, but not Théo. He’s the one who didn’t want to.
“I was surprised and tried to convince him, but he didn’t change his mind. He told me: ‘Dad, when am I going to play at City? I don’t want to be on the bench. If I’m good, they’ll come back for me in a few years’. He was right, and we signed with Zulte Waregem a few weeks later”.
Now 25 years of age, Bongonda has just had a great season with Genk, scoring 14 goals and assisting another six in 29 league appearances, which has seen him linked with a move away.
Whether he’ll get the chance to return to Manchester City in his career remains to be seen, such is their depth at his role, but a move to the Premier League certainly isn’t out of his reach.