Opinion: Quang Hai needs to move abroad now

Highlights – Hanoi FC vs Altyn Asyr FC

Scott McIntyre Scott McIntyre

Scott McIntyre gives his views on the Nguyen Quang Hai situation.

Blessed with pure technical skills, tactical versatility and a superb mentality, Nguyen Quang Hai is not only one of the finest young Southeast Asian players but one of the most exciting young talents on the Asian continent.

It is remarkable then that his V.League club, Hanoi FC, is refusing to listen to transfer requests from three different continents, insisting that he’s better served by continuing his development at the club.

They were the words of the Hanoi boss, Nguyen Quoc Hoi, speaking in the Vietnamese press this week when he said he believes that if the midfielder/forward stays in the local league he’ll be better served to make the jump to Europe in ‘two or three years.’

Someone – preferably Quang Hai’s advisors or those in the VFF technical department – might want to have some pretty serious words to the club because what they’re doing is risking setting back his development, presumably gambling that his transfer value will only continue to increase.

Indeed, the man that Quang Hai has the ability to succeed as the greatest ever Vietnamese player, Le Cong Vinh, said exactly the same thing in the local press this week – that the best thing for the development of young players is to move to a higher level abroad, as he well knows.

The club of course is perfectly within its rights to do whatever they deem necessary to make a profit on the player but to suggest that his development is better served at home than abroad – in the right environment – is erroneous.

It’s not as if we’re talking about a 16 or 17-year-old player – this is a man who will turn 22 early next year and who is already an established star for the national team.

His compatriots at the same age in South America or Europe are already integral parts of some of the planet’s biggest club sides and the French team that just won the World Cup had half a dozen players aged 22 or younger.

If Hanoi think they can wait until the player is in his mid-20s then they sadly might find that the ship has sailed on a move to Europe – don’t forget that those clubs have advanced scouting networks that regularly take players from Korea and Japan straight out of high school or university and the reality is those leagues are held in higher esteem than the V.League.

This issue here though is bigger than one club claiming they hold the key to developing potentially one of the brightest talents ever to come from Southeast Asia or simply trying to squeeze as much money as they can from any future transfer.

Quang Hai already possesses the technical qualities he needs to succeed abroad – this is not the issue.

What he needs now is a tactical maturity and to be playing and training at a level that Hanoi FC or the V.League simply can’t provide.

Put simply, his talent is going to waste and his potential being curbed by staying in the V.League any longer and the club must also look to the national interest in allowing a player of rare quality to chase his dream abroad.

In the same way that children can’t be expected to live with their parents forever what Hanoi’s stance is doing is hampering the player’s future growth and development precisely at a time when he needs to hone those elements of his game.

If the rumour mill is to be believed, clubs in Argentina, Germany, Thailand and Japan – and I can confirm the latter from first-hand experience – have all been chasing his signature and whilst the player must consider going to a club that can best cater to his development some of the comments this week from the Hanoi President about going to Manchester City in two years are laughable.

Far better might be to look at one of the many affiliates of that club – perhaps in Australia or Japan – as a steeping stone to a bigger move.

With both the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup and the AFC Asian Cup sure to have the spotlight shining even brighter on Quang Hai those at the administrative offices of Hanoi FC are bound to be even more overworked as a growing number of clubs across the planet state their interest.

As this superb generation of young talent have shown, it’s not only Quang Hai that they’re likely to look to purse, with up to half a dozen others, led by Vu Van Thanh and Nguyen Cong Phuong, also – in my opinion – amongst the best young players anywhere in Asian football.

The risk is that if Hanoi FC – and others in the country – continue to put their foot down and insist they are the best guardians of these jewels then clubs in Europe will simply give up and continue to look elsewhere in Asia for young talent.

Already having appeared at a FIFA U20 World Cup, having starred at numerous club and national tournaments right across the continent and with a resume and skill set that speaks for itself it is simply wrong of a club side to hold back the progress of one of the game’s elite young talents.

Do I think that Quang Hai has the potential to play for a leading European club side one day?


Do I think that will happen if he stays at Hanoi FC for another three years?

Absolutely not.

Someone needs to get this message across to the club that they need to let go of the young talent that they’ve successfully reared and let him continue his growth at a higher level – for the sake of the club, of Vietnamese football and this outrageously talented player.

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