Why there may be no more Machedas
Federico Macheda is the (young) man of the moment, the latest teenage prodigy from a long line Manchester United have nurtured, or simply acquired.
Talent knows no borders at Old Trafford. Lazio have long objected to the way United spirited Macheda away, but the Premier League champions broke none of Fifa's complex rules in doing so.
However, the regulations in Fifa's statutes for the transfer of players under the age of 18 are currently under review, and there's a strong lobby from Uefa, led by Michel Platini with support from the Fifa president Sepp Blatter himself, to introduce changes that would mean an end to transfers of under-18s altogether.
At present, there are a series of exceptions to the stated rule that under-18s shouldn't be traded:
"Within the European Union", being the salient one in Macheda's case, because European labour laws wouldn't permit the restriction. Uefa and Fifa's target isn't the prevention of the occasional spat over a European wunderkind.
Of greater concern is the exploitation of young teenagers, often from Africa, through the kind of highly questionable unlicensed football 'academies', that exist largely to serve their owners, not their graduates.
Some are trafficked to Europe on the false promise of getting trials at top European club sides, only to be abandoned on arrival, their families often having paid thousands of dollars for travel costs and "expenses" to the crooks who promise them the earth and leave them with nothing.
It's a stain on football's reputation that this is allowed to continue: Fifa and Uefa have moved the issue to the top of their agenda, recently confirming their intent to go back to the European Commission with a, 'unanimous desire', to seek changes to the rules.
There are signs they'll get their way: Recently, the EU Sport Commissioner, Jan Figel, said he was prepared to ask the EU's 27 governments to support the Platini plan if evidence could be provided that it would stop the exploitation of young players.
The agreement was also signed by the European Club Association, of which Manchester United is a member... so presumably there'll be no complaints from Old Trafford if Macheda is one of the last of the overseas under-18s to steal the headlines in future.