The 24-year-old attacking midfielder was regarded as one of the finest talents in the Bundesliga prior to his move from Borussia Dortmund last summer but form and fitness concerns kept him from cementing his place in the Red Devils’ first team last term.
Meanwhile, Dortmund fans started a ‘free Shinji’ campaign through social media intended to state their hopes that their former player would be allowed to return to Germany.
Red Devils boss David Moyes has insisted Kagawa is part of ‘his plans’ for this season but rumours of a potential swap deal with Dortmund have emerged, suggesting highly rated German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan could move in the opposite direction.
With time running out on deadline day these potential deals look to be increasingly unlikely to come to fruition but should United consider swapping Kagawa with anyone?
Shinji Kagawa is undoubtedly one of the most technically gifted midfielders in the world – his difficult start to life in England last term perhaps had a negative effect on his confidence but, given crucial time and regular starts in the United first team would be enough to unlock his potential.
Whilst Dortmund fans want to free Shinji Kagawa from Manchester United, it would be better for the player to be freed from his restrictive position at Old Trafford. With the retirement of Paul Scholes at the end of last term, United require a creative engine in their midfield.
Injury to Wayne Rooney was clearly disruptive to Moyes’ plans this weekend in their 1-0 defeat at Anfield to Liverpool – the England number 10 has functioned a second striker, in a deeper role as a playmaker behind Robin van Persie but a player of Kagawa’s talents is ideally suited to that role.
Whilst United have been linked with a number of playmakers – Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, and Mesut Ozil to name but a few – they already have one of the best players in that position sitting on the bench.
United could be tempted by the prospect of swapping Kagawa for a player like Gundogan but, in my estimation, they would be better off sticking with what they’ve got than twisting – just as Kagawa struggled in his debut season, Gundogan could very well experience exactly the kind of transitional period of inconsistency that his former teammate at Dortmund experienced last term.
image: © Marcel Sigg