Shinji Kagawa – The missing link for Manchester United

by Sam Peoples

Shinji Kagawa could well be on his way to United this summer (Photo: Getty Images)

Various sources are reporting that Manchester United are on the verge of signing Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund for a fee between £12-17 million. The 23-year-old Japanese playmaker was a star man in Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga winning campaign last netting, netting 13 goals and eight assists in his first full season without injury.

Kagawa has had a meteoric rise over the past two years, coming from lowly Japanese outfit Cerezo Osaka for €350,000 to a man of the match winning performance in Dortmund’s 5-2 victory over Bayern Munich in the DFB Pokal final in May 2012. Recognised for his playmaking ability, he is exactly the type of player that Manchester United have been craving.

Last season in the Bundesliga he achieved: 971/1169 passes, 59/74 long passes, 1.8 key passes per game and 2 shots per game (statistics by

Sir Alex and Mike Phelan watched Kagawa’s match winning performance over Munich in May. Photo: Bild

Known for his ability to pick key passes as well as an instinctive ability to dribble, he could be the diminutive player that will bridge the gap in Manchester United’s squad. Our thin midfield situation was only saved last season by the return of Paul Scholes from retirement as long term injuries to Fletcher, Anderson and Cleverley left us in dire straits.

I was immediately a fan of Shinji Kagawa last year after his impressive start to the Bundesliga campaign saw him score eight goals before injury kept him out for the majority of the season from January onwards. His natural playing style invites football on the ground – incisive, quick passing, movement and vision – all the characteristics of a player United so desperately need.

It will allow Rooney to move further up the pitch and get on the end of chances rather than creating them himself. He had a fantastic season this year but I think playing Kagawa alongside him will progress his game even further. You only have to look at the impressive link up play between Rooney and Welbeck last season to see that Wayne craves a player with the creative spark and tenacity that he has to be there on the pitch with him.

Nani, Valencia and Young, for all their plaudits and assets, simply don’t provide him with that.

An interesting factor in this move as well is the fact that since Michael Owen will not get a new contract next season, our #7 shirt is up for grabs. I fail to see a better option for the historic shirt than Kagawa.

How Manchester United could line up next year if Kagawa came to Old Trafford.

I do hope that Shinji joins and I think he will. The fans will be happy to see a player of his calibre coming to United and improving the squad and with the power he would hold in the Asian market s erving 359 million fans, you have to imagine that the Glazers would be happy with the global aspect he would bring into the club. Everyone’s a winner, for once.

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