So Federico Macheda has joined Sampdoria on a six month loan to gain experience and, on the face of it, it can only be a positive thing for Manchester United. A promising, young striker with an eye for goal gets regular first team football back in his home country. Maybe he’ll grab a few goals and come back in the summer feeling better about himself, ready for the new season ahead. He’ll obviously relish being on home soil as he has already stated that “Genoa is a beautiful city and I am happy.” Win-win?
Forgive me if I sound cynical but I just fail to see what real progress is going to be made through this move. Lets say he does score a few goals in his short time there, what does that mean for his career at United? The truth is, not much at all. The loan system is perfect for promising youngsters to hone their skills and gain valuable first team experience, we all know that. But for it to be truly successful it needs to be implemented in a way that will make a lasting impact. The players need to learn, gain confidence and grow.
United certainly know how to do this, you only need to look at the form of Danny Welbeck at Sunderland or Tom Cleverley at Wigan. These two have not only benefitted from being elevated to the starting eleven but also being in the Premier League. There is no doubt that they’ve learnt, gained confidence and grown as players – exactly what you want from a loan deal. This is why the Macheda loan seems so pointless. The Italian game is drastically different to the English and so defenders will defend differently. It’s all well and good for him to bag a few back home but you can’t help but wonder what good could have come from the same loan move to West Brom? It seemed perfect – send him to the Hawthornes, playing under an Italian manager, get some first team football in the Premier League and then come back twice the player for it. I hoped that Alex Ferguson would have talked some sense into him and sent him to the Midlands rather than Genoa. Failing that, surely Kiko could see what his fellow team-mates were doing at other clubs and realise what he had to do? Sadly, though, it seems the easier option of home and comfort took precedence over a chance to truly test himself as a player for the first time.
Fergie will have to keep a close eye on his progress after the loan has finished as there is always the chance United could lose out again. If he comes back invigorated and ready to push for a first team place then he needs to be given his chance. You get the feeling that he could be another Giuseppi Rossi, a player of genuine class allowed to leave far too soon. Rossi, too, went out on loan in Italy to Parma before joining Villarreal for around £6.6 million. Nobody at Old Trafford wants that to happen. Macheda is a natural finisher with a great turn of pace as well as being magnificently strong. The flashes of goal scoring prowess we have seen have been fantastic for a player of his age. He has the attributes to become a top striker but the question as to whether or not he has the attitude to fulfil his potential is yet to be answered.
We’ll wait patiently.
This piece is courtesy of guest blogger Sam Hughes – Ed