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Three big stories this past week have perhaps set in motion a chain of events, the eventual results of which may have huge implications on both the Serie A title race this season and the future of the Italian national team. First among these, and easily the saddest tale is the season-ending knee injury suffered by Fabio Quagliarella. On loan from Napoli and Juve’s top scorer, he was fast ridding himself of the oft-cliched ‘scorer of great goals but not a great goalscorer’ tag. Quickly establishing himself as a vital component in Gigi Delneri’s new look side, losing him puts a huge dent in the hope Juventus fans had for this season and a replacement must surely be found during the January transfer window if the Bianconeri are to continue to challenge leaders Milan.

One certain fact is that Luca Toni is not that man. He joined the Turin club just a couple of hours after Quagliarella was ruled out, a move that left fans stunned as the major focus of the new management at the club has been to refresh the squad with younger players, a strategy that the 34-year-old former Bayern Munich man certain does not fit into. The timing of these two stories means they are surely unconnected, which leaves Juve with three target men despite being out of Europe already which must leave Amauri as the odd man out and the Brazilian looks set for a move away sooner rather than later.

The third story is the loan arrival of Manchester United’s Federico Macheda at Sampdoria. This is perhaps even more interesting than the first two, and it’s impact may be even greater too. Macheda’s playing style is the main reason for this as it gives a natural scorer, a real penalty box striker, to a club in Serie A that already has exactly that in Giampaolo Pazzini. As other recent events have shown, Sir Alex Ferguson is very particular about where he loans his players, and the most important thing to him is something that the Manchester United manager went to great lengths to emphasise; he has loaned his young players to a club where he feels they are most likely to regularly gain some much needed playing time.

Ferguson, Macheda and lots of others besides will be hoping for a simple solution, a single move that links all three stories; Pazzini being bought by Juventus to cover for the injured Quagliarella, to play with big Luca Toni and allow the Lazio youth product the amount of playing time he and his parent club are hoping for. While this may be mere speculation it would suit all parties and makes much sense as Pazzini is exactly what Juve require - a goal scorer - and fits perfectly into the ‘young, gifted and Italian’ philosophy Beppe Marotta has clearly implemented at the Turin club.

The worst case scenario for all involved, especially Macheda, would be for his loan to follow the pattern of Giuseppe Rossi’s spell at Newcastle. He hardly played during his half season there, making just eleven appearances, a stark contrast from the next six months he spent at Parma where he scored nine goals in nineteen starts before moving to his current club Villareal. It is easy to draw the conclusion that not having a place to call home led to the US-born star wanting to leave Old Trafford, and it would be sad from Manchester United’s point of view to see the same fate befall their latest Italian striker.

Steps have most certainly been taken to avoid this, with all involved waiting for the right offer to come along and when it did perhaps the destination is even less of a surprise. Current Sampdoria boss Mimmo Di Carlo has a solid background, he was previously at Parma - a club hugely respected for it’s work developing loan players - and was the first Serie B coach to defeat Juventus during their spell in the cadetti in 2006/07. As can be seen from the withdrawal of his players from Preston (and putting aside any accusations of pettiness) Ferguson believes the coach is as important as the club when placing players on loan.

However long it lasts, Serie A fans will be grateful for the chance to watch the Under-21 International at close quarters and, like everyone involved, Sir Alex Ferguson will just be hoping it is a regular sight.

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One Response so far.

  1. RedScot says:

    Great read and the analysis of how Kiko may have been “loaned” to Sampdoria.As a Manchester United supporter I hope your views on Mimo Di Carlo are correct and Sir Alex’s wishes materialize and Macheda is given game time.
    A reason now to follow Sampdoria with more interest!
    I suspect it will lead to a similair pattern as happened with Giuseppe Rossi.
    United are blessed with many great centre forwards like Dimitar Berbatov, Rooney(although of form, totally)Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck at Sunderland(Loan) so he needs to really up his game given the chance and bang in some goals.
    Good Luck Kiko.

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