Striker set for Old Trafford exit

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Having watched Danny Welbeck's loan move to Sunderland propel him towards what Sir Alex Ferguson expects to be an England call-up next year, the Manchester United boss has decided to release Federico Macheda for the remainder of the season as well.

A suitable club is still to be sorted for the Italy Under-21 international but it is expected Serie A will be the most appropriate destination for Macheda, whom Ferguson opted to keep ahead of Welbeck and Mame Biram Diouf last summer. The United manager is anxious to stress the move is purely short-term and that Macheda has a big Old Trafford future.

"I had a chat with Federico and explained the Welbeck situation," said Ferguson. "It can pan out exactly the same for him. It would be the same thing, going to a club, getting that experience for six months and coming back to us a better player."

He added: "The reason we let Danny Welbeck and Mame Biram Diouf go was that they are young and they need games. And with Welbeck it has proved the point that through consistent, regular football, you can progress dramatically.

"Okay, in the previous two years he played in two cup finals and an FA Cup semi-final. But in a consistent nature he didn't have enough football to produce the kind of performances we are seeing now.

"He has been fantastic for Sunderland and must eventually get in the England squad. That is exactly what we wanted."

Ferguson confirmed that both Welbeck and Diouf, who has not made quite the same impact at Blackburn but has still gained useful experience, will remain with their current clubs for the rest of the season.

However, he needs to speak with Wigan counterpart Roberto Martinez before reaching a decision about the future of midfielder Tom Cleverley.

"Tom has done excellently as well but the agreement with him was always that we would review it in January," said Ferguson. "I have a fantastic relationship with Wigan so I have not discussed it any further than that.

"The only problem is that we have lost Park Ji-sung to the Asia Cup for the whole of January and I don't have Antonio Valencia back until the end of February, so we are a bit light in that respect in terms of wide positions."

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Federico Macheda
Premier League
Manchester United

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