The 17-year-old Macheda hit the headlines last week as he made his United debut in style by scoring the winner in their Premier League win over Aston Villa.
That prompted Macheda's former club Lazio to again stress their annoyance at the fact that The Red Devils were able to lure him away from Rome when he was 16.
Italian clubs cannot put players on to professional deals until they are 18, and, at times, English clubs use this to their advantage as they can do this when they turn 16.
That was the case with Macheda as he moved to Manchester at 16 and signed a contract with United. And now Inter have revealed that Santon, who has just broken into their first-team, almost went the same way.
Inter's assistant, Giuseppe Baresi, has revealed how Santon almost joined United, whilst Chelsea also showed an interest.
"It was a similar case like that of Macheda, that almost happened with Santon," he told Sky Italia.
"We knew of Manchester United's interest. I know their Italian scout was following him, and like him.
"And with Manchester there was Chelsea, another club who has a scout here in Italy and they were watching all our matches to follow Santon.
"But the (player's) family was important, we have been able to his contract in the way, right sums for a guy aged 16."
Santon is now regarded as one of the finest prospects in Italian football having broken through into Jose Mourinho's squad this season.