Where Are They Now? Federico Macheda started positively but it went downhill

Manchester United signed 16-year-old Federico Macheda back in 2007 with the club then being allowed to sign players of that age and his family relocated to the Manchester area. The player played for the U18s side at the time, making his first team debut during the 2008/09 season, scoring twice in five appearances. The player left United in the summer of 2014 for Cardiff City, then managed by current United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. During his time at United, Macheda was loaned to Sampdoria, Queens Park Rangers, VfB Stuttgart, Doncaster Rovers and Birmingham City.

He played 36 times for United, scoring five goals and six assists, having a cult following. After leaving United, the player never quite made it in the game, seemingly struggling, despite an early start at the Old Trafford club, which had him quickly labelled as the next best thing. However, now playing for Greek side Panathinaikos, Macheda seems to heave rediscovered his form and it getting noticed once again.

Back in the 2008/09 season at United, Macheda came off the bench and scored a world against Aston Villa, a 3-2 scoreline with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a brace, winning the game for his club. The against Sunderland, he came off the bench and found the back of the net again, all at the age of 17. It must have been great for him at the time, not so much now. It was suggested that the player had a glittering career ahead of him at United, however, that never really happened.

There was a weight of expectation at the club, especially after Ronaldo left the club in the summer of 2009 for Real Madrid, which seems to be a time where lots of things went wrong for the Old Trafford club. At Cardiff, where he played under Solskjaer for a period of time, Macheda played 33 times, scoring eight goals and one assist. However, it never really worked for him there either and he spent time on loan at Nottingham Forest, playing just three times. His contract at Cardiff was cancelled and he signed for Novara in Serie B, playing 50 times, scoring 11 goals and two assists.

His contract at Novara expired at the end of the 2017/18 season, and the player then moved to Greece, playing for Panathinaikos, where he is now, originally signing a three-year contract. Macheda has played a total of 91 times for the club, scoring 36 goals and nine assists, a turn up in form for the player. Last season, Macheda made a total of 37 appearances for his club, playing in the Greek Super League 1, the Kypello Elladas and the Super League play-off, scoring 15 goals and four assists, scoring ten goals and one assist in 26 appearances this season.

His scintillating form in the country has led to interest from other clubs, possible facilitating another move. After interest from Spanish clubs in the summer, Macheda signed a new contract which expires in the summer of 2023. I am happy that he seems to have, at last, found his feet in the game. Many will have had high hopes for him when he scored that goal against Aston Villa, but it just was not to be for him at United. I wish him all the best for his future career.

Written by John Walker

Juventus set to offer swap deal involving Federico Bernardeschi and Chris Smalling

Manchester United could well see more interest in central defender Chris Smalling this summer as it has been reported that Juventus, the Serie A champions, could offer United a tempting swap deal involving Federico Bernardeschi for the 30-year-old he was loaned to Serie A side AS Roma for the 2019/20 season. United have told Roma that they will need to pay £18 million to sign the English defender permanently and the player could be recalled back to Manchester before the end of next week.

United extended the loan spell of the defender to cover the remainder of the Serie A season plus the UEFA Europa League round of 16 match against Sevilla on Thursday evening with the loan spell ending on the 7 August, a day after the match. United will not extend the loan spell of the player to cover the latter stages of the Europa League this season, telling Roma that they will need to permanently sign the player to keep him the the remainder of the current season.

However, the club do not want to meet United’s valuation of the player. Reports on Friday suggested that Smalling had been told by Roma to tell United that he would not sign for another club if he was forced to leave Rome in the next week, although Smalling remained coy on that. He has been linked to Napoli and now Juventus so there is some interest in the player this summer and United should be using that to their advantage. That could get them exactly what they want this summer.

Calciomercato, reported by The Sun claim that with Roma uninterested in paying the £18 million to secure the future of Smalling has seen Juventus prick up their ears in this transfer scenario with the Serie A champions considering an offer involving Bernardeschi, 26, in a possible swap deal for Smalling. The Italian winger was earmarked as a possible fallback option if United failed to sign Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho this summer.

This season, Bernardeschi made a total of 36 appearances for his club, scoring two goals and two assists, which is not the type of form that would get him noticed as a player that should be on United’s radar. He can play as a winger on the left and right, as an attacking midfielder in a central position and as a central midfielder, so if United opt for this deal, he could have some use in the squad but would need to raise his game to fill the void that could be left with Sancho to arriving.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will know what he wants this summer. United should know what they want and understand that it is going to cost a lot to get this team working towards taking on the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City in order to challenge the the Premier League title and beyond next season. If United are not interested, they should use Juventus’ interest to their advantage which could make Roma pay up for Smalling. They will be running out to time for him to be allowed to play in the latter stages of the Europa League this season.

Written by John Walker

Phil Jones could be offered a chance to join a Serie A club with interest in the out of favour Manchester United defender – reports

Out of favour Manchester United defender Phil Jones is reportedly being lined up for a shock Serie A switch this summer, despite interest from former United manager David Moyes, who is now managing West Ham United, for the second time in his career. The Athletic have suggested that the 28-year-old could follow the steps of Chris Smalling.

Jones has been at United for nearly ten years and despite having one Premier League title, one FA Cup, two FA Community Shields and a UEFA Europa League on his list of honours at the club, based on the prospects he had when he joined United, he should have done so much better as a player but injury kept on coming, something he is affected by now.

This season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred defensive lineup involved both Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire as a central defensive partnership with Eric Bailly as the backup in the squad. Jones has made just eight appearances for United this season, scoring one goal. It shows that his future is not part of Solskjaer’s plans, even when not injured.

It looks as if Axel Tuanzebe, who is out of action until September, could be given a bigger role at the club next season which would suggest that Jones needs to find another club. United also continue to be linked with a mother defender, which may or may not happen this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is clear that Jones needs to find a new club to salvage what is left of his career. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, Jones was tipped as a future club captain but his demise under David Moyes continued under both Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho and is continuing now, under Solskjaer. With this many managers not trusting him regularly, it is not a problem with them.

Jones could look at what Smalling has done in Italy, making 32 appearances, scoring two goals and one assist for AS Roma with the player seemingly resurrecting his career in Italy, which is something that Jones could do too, if a club out there is interested in signing Jones, who has three years remaining on his current contract, with the option of a fourth.

Manchester United close to agreeing £50 million plus deal for Federico Chiesa but the player could reject the transfer – reports

Manchester United are apparently close to signing Fiorentina winger Federico Chiesa in a deal worth £50 million or more, according to reports. However, it is also stated that the 22-year-old could reject for various reasons which would obviously be a blow for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this summer with the club requiring reinforcements to strengthen the squad.

Chiesa has impresses at Fiorentina ever since he came through into the senior team back in 2016 and his performances have earned him a regular place in former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini’s Italy squad as well as receiving a lot of interest from other clubs, allegedly including United.

Italian news outlet Corriere Fiorentino has suggested that United’s interest has been strong and that the club is very close to meeting Fiorentina’s £60 million valuation of the winger this summer. However, as has been suggested by the player’s father, United would need to convince the player to move as he was not looking to move abroad.

Newcastle United are also interested in the player but United were said to be leading the race with Chiesa considered as a cut price replacement for Jadon Sancho, who United have been interested in this summer, however, might be priced out of a move for the England winger. It is suggested that Solskjaer is interested in signing a new striker, winger and defender.

Chiesa has scored seven goals and five assists in 30 appearances in Giuseppe Iachini’s side this season. The player has been at Fiorentina, nicknamed La Viola since 2007 when he joined the clubs academy, making his senior debut nine years later. He was capped by Italy for the first time in 2018, following his father, Enrico Chiesa’s footsteps.

It is not yet known whether United are in fact interested in Chiesa or whether it is convenient interest, either for click bait or for United as cover for another player they might be interested in, presuming that they have started to conduct transfer business already, despite the fact the transfer window will not open until the season has been completed.

Mason Greenwood was offered life-changing monetary terms to join Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus – reports

Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood was apparently offered a life-changing sum of money to sign for Juventus, joining former United winger Cristiano Ronaldo at the club, according to reports. The 18-year-old has risen to the occasion at United this season, scoring 15 goals and five assists in 41 appearances for the club.

Greenwood has established himself as a key performer in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side this season, earning the plaudits with the Norwegian certain that he is the best finisher at the club at this moment in time, which is a big piece of praise for the teenager, who seems grounded with what he has achieved at the club thus far, which is a good sign.

Greenwood has contributed to a total of 55 goals across United’s front line with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial bagging 20 a piece with his 15 added to that figure. Of course, with Odion Ighalo added to that, United’s forwards have scored 60 goals in total, which is a positive based on the inability of the club to find east goals not that long ago.

It is suggested by United reporter for The Athletic, Andy Mitten that Italian champions Juventus, who also look set to retain the Serie A title this season, tested United’s resolve for the teenager, which would have been a mistake if he was allowed to leave the club a year ago. Speaking on the the Talk of the Devils podcast, Mitten said:

“I think [Greenwood] can be a world class player. I know that there has been offers for him.

“Go back a year and Juventus were prepared to offer his family life-changing amounts of money.

“Manchester United deserve credit for the way they got him to sign a new contract.”

Solskjaer has praised the player for his performances over the past week, scoring a goal and an assist in the 3-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion, then scoring twice in the 5-2 victory over Bournemouth at the weekend. Solskjaer feels that Greenwood is good enough to earn an England cap when international football returns, saying:

“If you can handle playing for United, then you can handle playing for any team. Mason’s got the qualities that not many others have.

“So he could play for England’s full team or Under-21s, I don’t really mind. I know he’s doing well for us and it’s great to have him.”

Manchester United interested in Ciro Immobile in bid to find replacement for Romelu Lukaku – reports

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have found a replacement for Romelu Lukaku nearly a year after the Belgian striker left the Old Trafford club. Lazio striker Ciro Immobile is reportedly now on United’s radar despite securing Odion Ighalo for the remainder of the 2019/20 season and up until the end of January 2021.

Lukaku left the Old Trafford club last summer after a two-year stay at the club with Inter Milan signing the player for £76.5 million. Last summer though, Solskjaer decided not to pursue a replacement for the player, needing to delve into the transfer market, albeit a loan, for a striker after a long-term injury to Marcus Rashford.

Italian news source Calciomercato has reported that Solskjaer now sees Immobile as the perfect replacement for Lukaku and that the 30-year-old has been complimented by United’s reported interest, leading to a suggestion that he is open to a move to the Theatre of Dreams. Now, Immobile is not the first striker to be linked and won’t be the last.

This season, Immobile has played 33 times for Lazio, albeit before the coronavirus pandemic caused world football to be suspended, scoring 30 goals and seven assists in all competitions. Serie A is returning this month with the Coppa Italia resuming this week. Immobile has a contract at Lazio which expires in the summer of 2023.

In the absence of Lukaku this season, Anthony Martial has been the main striker at the club, also getting his former number nine shirt back. The Frenchman has scored 16 goals and five assists in 34 appearances this season, with a return to action on Friday with United travelling to face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

Martial needed support after blowing both hot and cold this season and with Rashford’s injury, got that in Ighalo, who will play half of next season at the club too. Immobile is a good striker but is he the player that Solskjaer needs? He’s not young but has experience, which could help Martial, Rashford and Mason Greenwood, which would be a bonus.

Manchester United ‘ask Juventus’ about Federico Bernardeschi transfer as backup for Jadon Sancho – reports

Manchester United have apparently identified Juventus winger Federico Bernardeschi as a back-up option should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side fail to sign Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho this summer. This does not seem to add up as reported on Monday suggested that United had identified Ansu Fati after ending interest in Sancho.

Based on the reports, it would seem that United has not stopped their interest in Sancho, which seems a pretty weird thing to report, then forget was even reported. I guess some journalists will do anything for a story these days, even play with the truth – I say whilst biting my tongue. United have asked how much the 26-year-old would cost this summer.

Tuttosport has reported that Sancho remains United’s number one target this summer, which seems to suggest the previous reports were not true, so I guess that suggestion can be resigned to the bin. Bernardeschi will be a Plan B in case a move for Sancho does not materialise, however, Solskjaer still remains interested in the winger.

It is suggested that Bernardeschi is not for sale but we know that means that there will be a price on the head of the player, which may well be activated if a club shows enough interest in him. It is suggested that Juventus would entertain bid from around £31 million, if they were to sell the player, which seems to be a bit cheap, considering.

However, there are no guarantees that United could sign the player, especially with Juventus still remaining interested in re-signing Paul Pogba, which is something that has been on and off already despite nothing actually happening so far. It would probably be best to steer clear of any negotiations for Pogba, if United are interested in Bernardeschi.

This season, Bernardeschi has made a total of 24 appearances, playing in the Serie A, the Coppa Italia, the Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Champions League, scoring one goal and one assist. The player can play on the right and left wing, also as an attacking midfielder and as a central midfielder. Solskjaer could be getting some business done soon, but who?

Manchester United on transfer alert for Juventus attacking midfielder with rivalry from Chelsea, Arsenal and others – reports

Manchester United could hold an interest in another Juventus player this summer with reports in Italy suggesting that Federico Bernardeschi would want to move to the Premier League if he was to leave the current Serie A champions. It will be a crucial few months for the player and those clubs who are interested in signing the 26-year-old.

It is suggested that along with United, Arsenal and Chelsea are interested in the Italian in a summer that is expected to be busy for all clubs around Europe, signing players to reinforce the clubs and selling other to help balance the books after the coronavirus pandemic caused many different financial problems at all levels.

Since Maurizio Sarri became the Juventus manager, Bernardeschi has features less prominently for the club, making just 24 appearances for the club this season, before the pandemic suspended world football, scoring one goal and one assist. Under former manager, Massimiliano Allegri, the 26-year-old featured a lot more for the club.

Midfielder Dejan Kulusevski recently arrived from Parma and this could see Bernardeschi playing less football with the club seemingly fazing him out of the team. At 26, he might be older than the kind of players that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is targeting ahead of the summer transfer window but the player could offer something in the team, if the club really is interested in signing him.

La Gazzetta dello Sport have reported that the player would like to test himself in a new country, seemingly the Premier League, which has alerted the likes of United, Arsenal and Chelsea, who are all seeking to sign similar players this summer. United need players who can play on the right-wing, which has been a problem area for some time.

No doubt, with Juventus trying to re-sign Paul Pogba this summer, he could be used in a player swap deal, although if United wanted to sell the French midfielder, it should be on their terms, not the club that wants to buy him. A decision on the players availability will likely be made after the season has been concluded which could be at some point in August.

United will have a lot of business to get done this summer with Solskjaer seeking to find clubs for the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo – who have been out of the clubs plans in the defence this season with two players, Smalling and Rojo away from the club on loan. In other areas of the pitch, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira could also be sold.

United will be seeking to bring in a new striker and many have been linked to the club. It is expected that Odion Ighalo could leave the Old Trafford club on Sunday to return to parent club, Shanghai Shenhua, as his loan spell was only due to see him at the club until the end of May 2020, which is a shame. However, a late extension could be granted.

Solskjaer is also linked with the likes of Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund, Jude Bellingham of Birmingham City and Jack Grealish of Aston Villa as the Norwegian manager looks to bring back the glory days of old, sealing a new identity for the squad. The return of the Premier League is long awaited, seeing the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood back in action next month.

Manchester United ‘to end Monaco hell’ of talented 19-year-old Italian forward – reports

Manchester United are apparently eyeing a move for Italian teenager Pietro Pellegri, according to reports. It has been reported by Football Italia that the 19-year-old could be set to join Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Mason Greenwood in the forward line at the Old Trafford club, which would see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rejuvenate the squad.

At the age of 16, Pellegri was signed by principality club AS Monaco for an £18 million (€25 million) fee with the player arriving from Genoa where at the time he had scored three goals in 10 appearances at senior level for the club. However, since then, the player has made just six appearances for Monaco, scoring one goal.

A series of injuries this season saw him not play a single minute of football for Monaco, seemingly suffering a hamstring injury, which raged on throughout much of the season, and when the plug was pulled on the Ligue 1 season, despite not being fit, it meant his season was over. It would seem his time at Monaco has not been great.

It has been stated that Solskjaer feels that Pellegri could help bring the old times back to the Old Trafford club, with the club seeking to find a new striker, which left them short up front this season and needing to make a loan signing in the form of Odion Ighalo from Chinese club, Shanghai Shenhua, which ends this weekend.

Pellegri idolised Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which is a good player to model yourself on, considering the form he had at United, scoring 29 goals and 10 assists in 53 appearances for the club before leaving for LA Galaxy in the MLS, scoring 53 goals and 15 assists in 58 appearances. He’s now playing for former club, AC Milan.

The 19-year-old would be considered a risk but with the form of Rashford (19 goals and six assists), Martial (16 goals and five assists) and even Greenwood (14 goals and four assists), he could be given the time to find his feet at the club, if United’s interest in solid. However, the club has been linked to Manny names already it is hard to tell.

United are still linked to Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, who is reportedly the clubs number one target, Aston Villa attacking midfielder Jack Grealish, and even Birmingham City midfielder Jude Bellingham, who might yet opt to sign for Dortmund. United need to secure two attacking players; a striker and a right-winger.

With the Premier League due to resume in two week’s time, Solskjaer will be concentrating on getting his squad up to fitness after not playing a match since mid-March when the league and the rest of world football was suspended. Since then, the Bundesliga has returned, entering it’s third weekend of action with La Liga and Serie A yet to resume.

Pellegri could be an under the radar signing and could play more U23 level football, than first team level football at the start of his United career, if indeed these reports are true. However, with Joe Hugill‘s impending arrival, that might not be something that happens. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens this summer.

Manchester United joined by Liverpool in race to sign Roma midfielder this summer – reports

Liverpool has reportedly joined the race with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur to sign AS Roma and Italy attacking midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo. The 20-year-old was linked to both United and Spurs last summer with United reported to be willing to offer £25 million for the player. That amount would never have been enough for the player though.

There are suggestions that Zaniolo is worth £71 million this summer, despite the valuation coming before the coronavirus pandemic which will have many financial implications for clubs around the world. Football Italia has reported that Roma seem to be in debt to the tune of £250,000, which seems such a small amount of money for a football club.

It would seem that Liverpool’s inclusion in the race to sign the Italian could be because his valuation will decrease, which could lead them to a bargain. However, with United and Spurs’ interest in the player, it could start a bidding war with the Merseyside club missing out on the rising Roma star who has attracted a lot of attention.

This season, before the coronavirus pandemic suspended world football, Zaniolo made a total of 24 appearances for Roma, scoring six goals and two assists, playing 1,741 minutes of football. Predominantly, the 20-year-old is a right-winger, making 16 of is appearances, scoring all of his goals and assists there – he can also play on the left, through the middle of as a centre-forward.

Roma could face the possibility of missing out on UEFA Champions League football next season with them sitting in fifth place in the Serie A after 26 matches, meaning they may only appear in the UEFA Europa League, which would hit the clubs revenue stream even more. It is suggested that Roma would like to sign Chris Smalling from United.

This could give United a chance to get Zaniolo and have Smalling included in a possible deal to sign the 20-year-old, if he is in fact on their wish list at all this summer. Last summer, the Italian was linked with United but the reported fee involved was never something that would have seen the deal completed.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is seeking to return United’s fortunes in his spell as the manager, seemingly taking a similar approach as Sir Alex Ferguson did all those years ago. Youth is the key and despite looking at players within the clubs academy, looking to see what is out there is a good approach. Previously, United had their approach to transfer wrong.

The clubs executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward was seemingly seeking to sign already established players on inflated transfers and massive wages. However, this approach did not work with the likes of Angel Di Maria, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Romelu Lukaku, and Alexis Sanchez, who is still a United player.

Solskjaer brought in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes in the past year, all four signings doing well at the club, the latter only playing for the Old Trafford club since January. United will see Jadon Sancho as the number one target in the right-wing role, but Zaniolo could be a back up option.

copyright: JW