Macheda looks to tour for one last chance

July 12, 2012 Tags: Opinion 22 comments

It is now three years, three months and seven days since Federico Macheda burst onto the Premier League scene, curling home a stunning and hugely significant winning goal against Aston Villa in the third minute of injury time. The Italian youngster’s Old Trafford effort, forever associated with Manchester United’s 2008/9 title victory, hailed the start of what promised to be a fantastic career. It hasn’t quite worked out like that for Macheda in the intervening years.

Indeed, injury, squad competition, a perceived attitude problem and two disastrous loan spells mean that the former-Lazio player has made almost no career progress since that famous Stretford End goal. And if Macheda’s regression has been disappointing, both to player and manager Sir Alex Ferguson, then it is placed in stark relief with two of the United players who first ran to celebrate with Macheda on the day: Danny Welbeck and Jonny Evans.

Now back at United after a short loan spell with Queens Park Rangers last season, Macheda will go on tour with Ferguson’s first team squad to South Africa, Asia and northern Europe this summer, with the 20-year-old still hoping to make a career at the club. It could well be the Italian’s last chance.

“It’s great to be back at Manchester United,” said Macheda, who played six times for QPR without scoring last season.

“When you go on loan you really understand how important it is to play for this club. I’m really happy to be back and I can’t wait for the start of the season.

“Last season was disappointing. In the first six months I didn’t get a lot of opportunities here so we decided it was best for me to go on loan. When I got to QPR things went a bit wrong, though, as I was feeling my ankle a lot. But now I feel a lot better and want to start the season well. It’s a big season for me.”

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, with Macheda joining QPR during the January transfer window; the Premier League loan that was long-over due. The striker made his Rangers’ début on 3 January as a substitute for Heiðar Helguson – by 28 March Macheda returned to United for treatment after an ankle injury brought his season to a premature end. In between there were just six appearances – three in the Premier league – as new manager Mark Hughes preferred January acquisition Djibril Cissé.

Disappointment at the west London outfit was the second winter loan gone bad for Macheda after the striker returned ‘home’ in 2011 to Sampdoria – seemingly against Ferguson’s wishes. In 16 fixtures with la Samp, Macheda scored just once in a Coppa Italia tie against Udinese. Worse still, Sampdoria’s awful form matched the striker’s with the Genoa-based club relegated to Serie B by the end of the campaign.

Add in numerous injuries and the perception that Macheda doesn’t work quite as hard as United’s coaches might like, and the Italian is surely on the precipice at Old Trafford.

But this summer’s tour, which takes in six games across five countries and over 22,000 miles of travel, could provide Macheda with a fresh career impetus, especially with Michael Owen departed and Dimitar Berbatov’s future still uncertain. It’s an opportunity that the Italian simply must take; one final chance to demonstrate that Ferguson’s faith is not unfounded.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Macheda told

“It’s always great to visit fans in different countries. You meet new people, you see new cities, you experience different cultures. I didn’t know how big the club was around the world when I went away for the first time in 2009. But I was very impressed by Malaysia, China and Korea. We have great support all over the world and I love being part of this team.”

Whether Macheda remains part of the team in the coming season is still open to question though, even if Ferguson praised the Italian’s potential once again earlier this summer. But it is a career that cannot continue to fester; six months in United’s reserves waiting for an opportunity while Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernández rotate striking duties in the first team can serve neither United, nor player well.

Yet, after failed loans both abroad and in the Premier League neither player nor club’s options are wide. Macheda may find another temporary move within the top division – it is, after all, more likely than the Italian forcing his way into Ferguson’s plans. Equally, the striker cannot afford to be less than first choice at a new club either. It reduces Macheda’s realistic options substantially.

Neither will a sale maximise United’s value in these Glazernomic times, making Macheda’s permanent departure unlikely while the player remains at a low ebb. It leaves fans pondering whether the youngster has regressed from teenage wunderkind to the scraphead in three short years.

Perhaps, not quite yet. But whether Macheda stays at United or departs for pastures new, the coming season promises to the most important in a fledgling career.


19 and Counting - July 13, 2012 Reply

He’s had enough chances – bye bye Macheda.

Minus The Bear - July 13, 2012 Reply

I think that’s a tad unfair, he increased the weight of expectation massively on himself by doing what he did against Villa. And showed it again against them when he came on and we were 2-0 down at Villa Park. I think he suffers from what Welbeck suggested was an issue when he was playing for the reserves week in, week out and then suddenly had one game in the first team to ‘do’ something, which again puts a lot of pressure on the youngsters.

He also is a bit of a loan curse, the last two times he’s gone off the managers have been sacked leaving him a bit in limbo, so like when Rossi went off to Newcastle on loan they’ve ultimately been an utter waste of time for his development. The Sun are suggesting he’s going to go out on loan again probably to a Championship side (maybe Warnock will be reunited with him), which is probably just as well as I doubt he’s going to get any opportunities this year either. Maybe if Berbatov went then Ferguson would keep him, especially as I think he had an eye for the 5th striker spot to be taken by Will Keane. Anyway seeing as Berbatov is probably just going to see out his contract it’s a bit of a mute point with 4 strikers (and both Powell and Kagawa as Rooney-esque roles) there isn’t much room for Macheda.

Anyway surely dealing with Macheda is the least of United’s problems…. What about Bebe?!

Bill - July 13, 2012 Reply

He’s still young, strikes me as a situational player, in the right environment he will succeed, at Samp they expected him to lead the line and at qpr he was never given a chance a relegation threaetened qpr. Always has a goal in him, not a starter but as a 4th or 5th striker or super sub he definitely is worth keeping. He might be happy to do that at a big club than play more regularly at a small one.

Denton Davey - July 13, 2012 Reply

Bill: “Always has a goal in him, not a starter but as a 4th or 5th striker or super sub he definitely is worth keeping.”

Agreed. Lots of potential up-side but two issues

first, KikoTheKid has to show that he’s more useful than Dimmy as the “super sub”; and,

second, he needs to be played in a position – #9 – that maximizes his positive qualities.

Playing him on the wing – as SAF did in the CL last fall – is non-sense. The kid is a “big lunk” with an excellent touch in front of goal so he needs to be in-and-around the penalty-spot.

marlon - July 13, 2012 Reply

Fergie always used to say he was the best natural finisher at the club. Shame to see it go to waste. Can’t see Fergie relying on him/Keane if Berba leaves, even as 4th striker.

Chirayu - July 13, 2012 Reply

Said it before I believe, but his fate was sealed when we sent him to a non-English team on loan, nevermind a team that was finding relegation and lost the three reasons why they made champions league qualification the year prior (Del Nieri, Cassano + Pazzini).

Plus, for all the metnal ability he has, he’s not shown technical ability to match it, and to be a starting striker at United, you need to have both in abundance.

19 and Counting - July 14, 2012 Reply

Commenter said:
Said it before I believe, but his fate was sealed when we sent him to a non-English team on loan, nevermind a team that was finding relegation and lost the three reasons why they made champions league qualification the year prior (Del Nieri, Cassano + Pazzini).

Plus, for all the metnal ability he has, he’s not shown technical ability to match it, and to be a starting striker at United, you need to have both in abundance.

Yeah and looks like Berba will be sticking around for another year as well so I can’t see Macheda getting much playing time.

Alfonso Bedoya - July 14, 2012 Reply

Another mystery… why are we not selling Berbatov?

£100k a week in wages, for a player we’ll hardly use… and next year he can leave for free… who the fuck is making these stupid decisions?

Minus The Bear - July 14, 2012 Reply

We’ve gone like Spurs, trying to turn profit on players who we don’t use/aren’t worth it just like Park (although dubious that we’ll get the £3million add on anyway), so Fergie won’t let Berbatov go for peanuts which is all thats probably been offered, as like you said Alfonso he’s out of contract in 12 months and unwanted. Fergie just doesn’t want it highlighted that it turned out to be a waste of money.

But obviously the catch 22 side of that which seemingly has gone unnoticed is that he’ll sit around for 12 months looking sullen then bugger off for nowt next year. Never mind why aren’t we selling him, which fuckwit decided to take up the extension option and then not try and get any money they could for him. It’s like extending Owen’s contract last year. Quite happy to give these big pros a nice fat contract, yet when it comes to the young talent we supposedly nurture it suddenly becomes what looks like penny pinching.

Alfonso Bedoya - July 14, 2012 Reply

No, I’m fine with the idea of taking up the one year option… or else he’d be free to leave now for nowt… but you’ve got to be realistic about how much you can get for him… some here were suggesting we’d get £15mill for him… that is never going to happen… we’d do very well to even get 10mill.

There are clubs interested… he still is a very good player, and his lazy style means he’s probably still got 4/5 good years left in him…

I’m sure if we played the market properly, we’d get £7/8mill for him… but as is typical with United these days… our priorities are skewed.

Herbie Simms - July 15, 2012 Reply

Macheda is not United quality, neither was Obertan, Diouf and Bebe. Berbatov was told by Fergie that he is only worth 5 million and Berbatov is saying now that he wants to leave. We still have big problems in midfield that have yet to be resolved and so many midfielders are being linked with a move to United. Fergie seams a bit to easy-going on this situation, he really needs to get his midfield problems solved now! Should not have sent Fabio on loan to QPR. Fabio should have stayed as a backup to Rafael on the right side. Fabio is not a left-footed player, that is why he struggles at leftback position.

Alfonso Bedoya - July 15, 2012 Reply

Where’s the £150mill Herbie?

Tell us some more nonsense… we’re bored, and you’re good for a laugh.

marlon - July 15, 2012 Reply

very surprised there are no takers for Berba at £5. What about AC? They seem reluctant to spend big and have just sold Ibra. Can’t believe there is such a difference in price between Ibra and Berba.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - July 15, 2012 Reply

herbie claimed regularly bebe was the dogs bollocks

Bill - July 15, 2012 Reply

On his way, will be lucky to get 7.5 mill. We seem to be doing a very good job of making playing assets worth very little. Gibson, O’Shea, Brown sold for way below market value, not to mention those let go for free.

bman - July 15, 2012 Reply

I’m sure his wages are high but he won’t play much, and since he’ll be sold for nothing next summer, any money we get for him is a plus at this point.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - July 16, 2012 Reply

tbf getting anything for park was great work

Yang - July 16, 2012 Reply

Betting site told us QPR better chance might not relegate this season, Park will be a loss to United team since except Carrik there is not an player can win the ball back frequently, Team need some one deputy Carrik’s job.

On Kiko, he is very young player, most players need to improve at least around 25 yr old, you simply cannot say that Kiko is not good enough before he get older, He need to develop his general play level otherwise Kiko won’t make it United but he is still very young.

Herbie Simms - July 16, 2012 Reply

We’ve got 100 million to spend on players, already made available but Fergie is an asshole when it comes to spending money and thats why we lose out on the best quality players. Fergie believes no player is worth 30 million so we end up with a bunch of nobodies. The money is available, Glazier and Gill said that, so blame Fergie, don’t blame me. And now I see Bebe is included in the pre-season tour squad. Has Fergie lost his mind. Do you guys read the columns put out by David Gill? He made it clear that Fergie has enough money to buy whoever he wants, so whats the problem? If Fergie don’t spend anymore money, there will be no trophies this season with this present squad. Even with Kagawa, still not good enough to compete in Europe. Very weak midfield will be our downfall.

Mongoletsi - July 23, 2012 Reply

Classic Herbie 🙂

Alfonso Bedoya - July 16, 2012 Reply

Minus The Bear - July 16, 2012 Reply

Just because Ferguson doesn’t believe players aren’t worth 30 million doesn’t seem to have stopped him in the past.
As for Bebe, the only way we going to be able to shift him is conning some side into thinking he is actually brilliant by bringing him on against some tin pot outfit on the tour and giving him an open goal to score. Better we take him and attempt to make him look good and gets some magic beans for him than let him languish.

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