Shinji Kagawa has had a mixed season but can it definitively be classed as a success or a failure?
Well first of all it certainly can’t be classed as a success because he arrived at Manchester United with a huge reputation from Borussia Dortmund and he’s not done enough to make himself indispensible to the first team.
Even the player himself said he felt he couldn't entirely enjoy the title victory because he would have liked to have contributed more substantially.
However, that wasn’t entirely all his fault because Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to use him down the left wing at times, which takes him away from his more favoured and effective central position.
It’s also surprising that he was only used three times in the Champions League this season, where it’s arguably more important to retain possession allowing a side to build pressure on the opposition.
The only successes of his season can be drawn from the fact he seems to have settled quite well at Old Trafford, which shouldn’t create any problems with the transition from Ferguson to David Moyes.
Settling in can be very difficult for some foreign stars but Kagawa seems to have taken to life and football in England like a duck to water.
What the club is going to be hoping for is that he can build on this solid base, effectively creating an opposite of ‘second season syndrome’ and having a blinder next year.
He’s also established a very good relationship away from the pitch with the media but more importantly the fans, who seem to recognise that United have a very special player on their books if he’s used in the right way.
That’s the big test for Moyes moving forward because Kagawa’s role has to change in the team, as he’s wasted when he plays out on the left.
When he does play that role, his natural instinct is to push inside to the middle of the pitch, which leaves that side of the United team exposed.
Therefore, for the integrity of the United team as a whole and to make the player a little bit happier, getting more from him, Moyes has to ensure that Kagawa plays centrally next season.
He can play centrally in two different ways. He can play in a 4-4-2 next to Michael Carrick or he can play as the creative midfielder player in a 4-5-1, which we’re more likely to see in the Champions League.
Kagawa is a very good player, he just wasn’t given the chance to show it in full this year.
Success or failure, what do you think?
image: © Marcel Sigg