United boss David Moyes confirmed last month that the Premier League champions were indeed interested in the former Arsenal captain and that negotiations with the Spanish champions are ‘ongoing’.
The Catalans have flatly reject both bids from United and have repeated insisted the 26-year-old is not for sale. The player himself has stated he would rather remain in his homeland at his boyhood club but recent reports have also suggested he could be tempted back to England.
Meanwhile, United bought Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund last summer, reportedly for £17 million to the Bundesliga side – he is regarded by his former manager and mentor Jürgen Klopp as one of the finest footballers in the world.
There is no doubt the 24-year-old Japan international is an exceptionally gifted player and certainly has ample room to improve on his performance in his debut season at old Trafford.
Kagawa picked up an unfortunately injury which sidelined him for decent chunk of the beginning of term but he recovered well and came through to good effect for his new club, eager to impress. He scored 6 goals and made 6 assists in 26 appearances across all competitions last term but his previous record in his final season in the Bundesliga reflects more accurately his true potential.
In the 2011/12 season with the eventual Bundesliga champions, Kagawa scored 13 goals and made 12 assists for Dortmund in 31 appearances in the league alone.
Meanwhile, in Spain, Fabregas was gaining a lot less regular access to the first team with Barcelona. In 2011/12, his first season upon his return from Arsenal, Fabregas made 28 La Liga appearances, of which 23 were starts and only 10 were for a full 90 minutes. In that period he scored 9 goals and made 10 assists for the Catalans.
This season, the former Gunners skipper upped the ante, scoring 11 goals and making 14 assists in 32 appearances for the eventual champions of Spain.
However, he was substituted in exactly half of those appearances and came on from bench twice. In terms of his importance to the team, his percentage of the teams’ goals reveals who is actually the better playmaker in reality.
Comparing Kagawa’s stats from his last season at Dortmund and Fabregas’ stats from this season in Catalonia, the Japanese maestro was involved in 31.25% of the German side’s league goals, compared to Fabregas’ 21.7%.
To ensure relevance to the Premier League, taking Fabregas’ stats from his last full season with Arsenal, he was involved in just 22.2% of their league goals.
Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney, operating as more of an attacking midfield playmaker in Sir Alex Ferguson’s team, scored 12 goals and made 10 assists in the Premier League, meaning he was involved in 25.6% of United’s goals.
Whilst United are busy ardently trying to negotiate a deal with Barcelona, they already have a far more effective and decisive player in their squad. United’s priorities should be keeping Wayne Rooney and keeping Shinji Kagawa fit. The Red Devils don’t actually need Cesc Fabregas.
Who would you rather at Old Trafford? Cesc Fabregas or Shinji Kagawa?
image: © Marcel Sigg