Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has decided to release Federico Macheda on loan for the remainder of the season.
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 Danny 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. However, having seen how Welbeck has blossomed during his stint at the Stadium of Light, Ferguson is now certain a move elsewhere can have massive benefits, especially at a time when he has growing options in attack.
"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.
"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."