As the season comes to an end, with United on course to rule England and potential Europe, there is a somewhat positive air around the club.
This hasn’t always been the case this season as various events on and off the field have put a dampener on proceedings but with that behind us and just a point needed on Saturday to seal a record breaking 19th title many of these so called problems have been put on the back burner.
But come June when all the games have been played, we will have to face these issue like replacing Edwin van der Sar and bringing in a midfielder (if that is indeed on the agenda). A number of youngsters are shining at lower levels in the club whilst others have shone whilst out on loan so what becomes of these starlets also needs to be sorted out.
The likes of Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck have built a buzz around their names at teams like Wigan and Sunderland and months ago Sir Alex spoke highly of them claiming they would be getting plenty of games next season. Their performances have merited so and whilst the actual capacity in which they will be used is disputed the fact Sir Alex has singled them out and even stated so is promising.
But now a question must be raised about another United youngster.
Bursting onto the scene in the manner in which he did, Kiko Macheda was always going to have much to live up to. Sir Alex’s comparisons with the departing Cristiano Ronaldo won’t have helped but for a player with his attitude it won’t have bothered the Italian. A good pre season in the States, impressive performances in the reserves and an ever so important goal against Aston Villa (who else?) showed that he had the class that it was thought, it just needed to be nurtured.
Perhaps a sustained spell of games would do him good and as January approached a loan spell was considered.
It’s no secret that the club wanted him to stay in England and West Brom, with then manager Roberto Di Matteo, was the preferred destination but the player had his eyes and heart set on a return to his home country Italy. There is no saying how his spell at West Brom would have gone. They brought in Carlos Vela instead and he hasn’t done too bad there but that is no measuring stick as to how Macheda would have done so instead we can look at his spell at the club he did choose.
Macheda’s move to Sampdoria was an interesting one, he was welcomed and fans turned out to watch him train and he got a against Udinese in the Coppa Italia but that has pretty much been the highlight of his spell back in his native country.
Italian football is very different to English football so it was rightly thought that he would have done better to stay in this country as he was essentially being sent out on loan to make him a better United player but circumstance hasn’t quite allowed for this to happen. Lack of game time has been the main problem for the young Italian as he has been reduced to appearances off the bench and this has lead he himself to admit that the spell hasn’t exactly gone as he planned and perhaps he would have done better to stay over here,
“I don’t know why it hasn’t worked for me at Sampdoria, perhaps people expected that I would replace Cassano.
“But I’m not Cassano, I am Macheda. And the Italian football, the tactics, is different to the English. I prefer the English, more physical and faster.”
Part of being young (not just a young footballer) is learning from your mistakes and it is apparent that he has made a mistake and he realises this.
Sir Alex himself previously said,
“I speak to Macheda by phone and in June I want him back. He is a natural scorer.”
But confusion now surrounds Macheda’s future.
Whilst some media outlets report that he is set for a permanent move away from the club others suggest that Sampdoria may be looking at bringing the young Italian back to Italy next season even if they are relegated to Serie B, something very plausible. Macheda has accepted the move to Italy hasn’t worked out for him and Sir Alex has said he wants him back but with United’s striking options looking healthy a move away even if temporary could be on the cards.
Rooney, Berbatov, Hernandez, Owen (?) and Welbeck will be hard to implement, even now the club’s top scorer finds himself on the bench so adding Macheda to that mix further muddies the waters.
United and Macheda will have an interesting summer ahead and both parties have some serious choices to make in terms of the development of a obviously talented player.