Before the year ended, Macheda’s agent revealed that Macheda might be on his way out of United as regards a loan deal.

“Federico could leave United, that is true, but only on loan,” he said. “The club and Ferguson have absolute faith in Chico. With the return of Michael Owen, confirmation of Wayne Rooney, plus fine form for Dimitar Berbatov and Hernandez, the space for him in Manchester has been reduced. We talked it over and were given the all-clear by Ferguson to go on loan for six months in January to gain experience. If we do decide to leave Manchester, then Italy represent the most likely destination. Up until now we have not been contacted by anybody, but will only choose a club that can guarantee Federico consistent playing time. That’s the only reason for leaving Manchester.” (Kiko Ready For Loan To Italy)

From this statement, a number of points can be determined:

– Limited first team appearances for Macheda at Manchester United.

– Sending the player on loan to gain the type of experience only garnered by playing games.

– A good number of first team appearances have to be guaranteed at any club he is moving to.

On Monday, 10th October, it was confirmed Macheda would be joining Sampdoria on loan. The circumstances surrounding the decision to sign Macheda have to be taken into account. Sampdoria had just lost their star man, Antonio Cassano, who fell out with the club chairman, Riccardo Garrone. On the surface, this meant there was a place in the squad for one more striker. Garrone’s statements appear to be in aggrement with this line of reasoning.

“I am very happy that Macheda has chosen Sampdoria and I think it’s the same for the fans,” said Garrone. “Macheda has easily filled the void left by Cassano, he will definitely do well. In these five months we will try to treat him well. With him here, the enthusiasm has increased tenfold.” (Kiko’s Move To Sampdoria Confirmed )

Followers of the Serie A would not that though these comments may appear reasonable, something just doesn’t seem right.

Sampdoria played a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 system with Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini forming the 1-1 in the system. The Blucerchiati defend with two deep banks of four, something similar to what Roy Hodgson managed to produce at Fulham, with Cassano forming the link between midfield and attack. Cassano would constantly drift wide left/right receive the ball and work some magic, yes magic, on it for Pazzini or another team-mate to score. The Cassano-Pazzini partnership was one the deadliest partnerships in European football last season.

In the brief period Cassano has been banned from playing by club chairman Garrone, Sampdoria have stuck with their 4-4-2 switching between Nicola Pozzi and Guido Marilungo beside Pazzini with Marilungo having played the most. Marilungo has played on the flanks a number of times in his career and he played on the flanks before the Cassano ban. Marilungo is quite pacey with a couple of tricks under his sleeve. This gives an idea of the type of striker who the Sampdoria manager, Domenico Di Carlo, feels can partner Pazzini.

People who have watched Macheda over the years by this point would have realized the problem. Macheda and Pazzini are basically goal-poachers, number 9s. With this kind of system Sampdoria play, only one of Pazzini/Macheda can exist for the system to function. Garrone’s comments now seem very awkward as Macheda can not fill the void left by Cassano. And if it would come down to a question of quality, there is only one winner and that’s Giampaolo Pazzini.

This situation paints a lose/lose situation for all concerned parties but it may not be all doom and gloom. Pazzini is currently believed to be one of the strikers Juventus may sign this January transfer window. The general belief is that the Bianconeri is a top striker short of being a very good side. Pazzini would be perfect fit for the Bianconeri as he has worked under Juventus head coach, Luigi Delneri, and Director General, Giuseppe Marotta, and his under-study, Fabio Paratici, who all previously worked at Sampdoria and currently seem to be calling the shots at Juventus. Another striker who many believe to be on Juventus’ list is Alberto Gilardino and it is believed he sacked his agent for the sole purpose of finding a new club.

For Macheda to succeed at Sampdoria, Juventus would have to move for Pazzini not Gilardino. If this were to happen, Macheda would have to contend with Nicola Pozzi for the spot of prima punta at Sampdoria and this is battle he must win to prove his ability. Sampdoria isn’t considered one of the biggest clubs in Italy but entry into European ambitions is not out of the picture considering their qualification for the final knockout round of the Champions League last season. The task that befalls Macheda is clearly not a minor one.

This could easily turn out to be a winning situation for United. It would allow Ferguson the ability to test Macheda’s ability to perform when expectation is high. It would provide Macheda with the chance to prove he can be Manchester United’s number 9 in the nearest future. If Macheda fails to take this chance, it would prove deadly for his Manchester United career as Danny Welbeck currently on loan at Sunderland seems to have fully grasped his chance for the time-being while Javier Hernandez is currently pleasing the Old Trafford faithful with his consistently productive performances. If Macheda were to fail in this test, he would come out with a diminished reputation in Italy and with his Manchester United career at an end. Even a successful stint at Sampdoria doesn’t guarantee Macheda a place at Manchester United next season considering the competition he faces but it would do well for his future with the Italian national team and his reputation at home.

Though this comes quite late, this post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention elite twiterrati, Adam Digby of Il Tifosi, who raised this point on the first edition of the @serieaweekly podcast

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