Manchester United are still in the early planning stages for the January transfer window.
One player who clearly doesn't think he belongs in their long-term plans is Federico Macheda, who's apparently angling toward a mid-season exit from Old Trafford.
Adam Digby of ESPN reports that the 21-year-old striker, who has rarely been used since he joined the Red Devils' first team, would like a chance to play elsewhere instead of sitting on the sidelines. Agent Giovanni Bia said it's not a good situation for Macheda right now:
"Manchester United have some phenomenal players in attack, so it is truly difficult for Federico to find space. It's not true what they write in the English papers that he's going through a bad spell. He wants to play and if he cannot do so by January then we'll try to find an alternative solution."
He's right. Between Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, the striker position at United is already overflowing with talent, and that's not even taking into consideration Wayne Rooney, who can move around the formation as needed.
The chances of Macheda making an impact with the Red Devils in the near future are slim. He's certainly a promising young player with plenty of potential, but he hasn't shown enough in recent seasons to warrant more playing time for this elite club.
As the same time, sitting on the bench isn't going to do him any good. The only way for young players to develop is through playing extensive minutes against good competition. They can only do so much on the practice grounds.
He seemed to push too hard when given a chance to play during loan stints with Sampdoria and Queens Park Rangers, almost like he was trying to make up for all of his lost time in one match. It led to a bunch of lackluster showings.
In other words, it's time for him to get a fresh start. Things clearly aren't working out how either he or the team had hoped, leaving him buried on the roster with no real chance of making progress toward a starting spot.
It's a frustrating situation for any young player, but especially one with so much talent who has never met such resistance before during his football life.
Getting out of the spotlight of Old Trafford should help him get refocused.
There are times in football when two sides should just go their separate ways, and this certainly falls into that category. It's a relationship that's not working for either side, and there's no reason to let it become an even bigger distraction.
United should let Macheda explore his different options once the transfer window opens, and take the best available offer for him. It's the best route for everybody involved.