Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson claims the emergence of Italian teenager Federico Macheda is one of the reasons he has not spent big on luring a striker to Old Trafford this summer.
United had been expected to bring in a high-profile name after losing Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez during the close season and have been linked with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto'o amongst others.
However, having scored the opening goal as United overcame a Malaysian XI 2-0 on
Monday, the Italian starlet has been backed by his manager to help fill the sizeable voids left by by his more illustrious cohorts.
The 17-year-old burst onto the scene last season with a memorable injury time winner against Aston Villa in April before scoring the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light the following week as United went on to claim their third successive Premier League title.
Impressing many with his maturity despite his tender age, Macheda is being tipped to be a big star in the future and is expected to continue his impressive progress throughout the 2009/10 campaign.
Ferguson told MUTV: "I am pleased that Macheda and (Michael) Owen have struck up a good partnership.
"We have big hopes for Macheda. He is one of the reasons we didn't go into the market. He is strong, athletic and a good finisher.
"He played his part last season but he is just a young lad learning his game."
Federico "Kiko" Macheda hat-trick - Manchester United v Newcastle United reserves - 30th March 2009