Federico Macheda looks set for a loan spell in his native Italy for the remainder of the season.
Having burst onto the scene at Manchester United so dramatically, scoring the winner in spectacular fashion against Aston Villa at Old Trafford in 2009, the striker has since struggled to build on his early promise, and has made only 16 appearances for the first team.
Now behind Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez in the United pecking order, Macheda is finding it harder than ever to break into the starting 11, and a January loan deal may now be the only option to prove himself to Alex Ferguson.
Macheda looks set to return to Italy for the remainder of the season, and he is certainly not short of admirers; Inter, Juventus, Genoa, Fiorentina, Udinese and most recently Lazio have all expressed an interest in the striker, although all are thought to be keen on a permanent transfer rather than a loan.
Wherever he decides to go, a move will certainly be good for Macheda, providing he does play regularly. Yet there are a few more players at United who would also benefit from a break from the pressure at Old Trafford, or who need to get some first-team experience under their belts.
Ben Amos, for example, is a talented young goalkeeper, but at the moment he is most definitely third choice. He simply will not get enough chances to develop at United, and would benefit hugely from a loan elsewhere; perhaps to a lower-league club to guarantee him a first-team spot and to toughen him up a bit.
Chris Smalling might also need a bit of a break, as although he looked very solid during his early games, since the shocker against West Ham in the Carling Cup he’s barely made it onto the bench, and his confidence cannot be too high at the moment. Still young, still developing, Smalling could certainly learn a lot from a spell with another Premiership team, perhaps Wigan, Wolves or even West Ham to teach him some true last-ditch defending.
Another defender, Fabio, might benefit from a run in another team, as although he may not need the experience as much as Smalling or Amos, his first-team opportunities at United are still limited, and he has now fallen way behind his brother Rafael, who is now first choice at right-back.
A few midfielders might also need some extra games; Bebe and Gabriel Obertan, for example, have also suffered for their abject display in the Carling Cup, and despite both being fit, neither made the team against Birmingham City last night despite United missing three wide players (Nani, Park Ji-Sung and Antonio Valencia). These two may still get their chance due simply to the other absentees, but judging by the boss’ attitude toward them, when their chance comes they’d better make the most of it!
The final man is Darron Gibson. Last night he was woeful, unaware, and seemed somewhat unfit as well. He needs play every week to build up his stamina and confidence. He needs experience at a club where he’ll have to fight for every single ball, where two points dropped is disastrous rather than annoying. He needs to improve his shooting accuracy. He needs to develop, fast.
If nothing else, he needs to go home and think about what he’s done!
So bring back Tom Cleverley, bring back Mame Biram Diouf, bring back Richie De Laet and Danny Welbeck, and give the others a chance to shine before it’s too late.
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