After another fleeting appearance from Shinji Kagawa, Vincent Ralph suggests the one way he could still prove to be a success at Old Trafford.
But after being substituted at half-time in United’s 2-1 loss to West Bromwich Albion earlier today – replaced by 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj – the future looks less than rosy for the Japanese play-maker.
Not that we can really call him a ‘play-maker’ these days. He is more a reluctant left-winger, his creativity stifled by managerial choices and the presence of Wayne Rooney.
That is in no way a criticism of the England international. The truth is: were it not for Rooney, United would be in an even worse position than they currently find themselves. But Kagawa just cannot play his way into games at the moment, even when he does get minutes on the pitch.
Those who watched him during his time at Borussia Dortmund surely cannot believe this is the same player…or that United have used him so wastefully.
In his first season in Germany, Kagawa scored 10 goals for Dortmund, while his second campaign signalled the emergence of a potentially world-class talent.
With 13 goals and eight assists in 31 Bundesliga appearances, it was no surprise Sir Alex Ferguson took notice. Add to that his four goals in cup competitions and it was clear Kagawa knew where the goal was as much as he knew how to create chances for others.
His £12million move to Old Trafford was supposed to see United in possession of a truly outstanding play-maker in the mould of a younger Paul Scholes. Instead, they have little more than an expensive investment they have absolutely no inclination to use effectively.
In time, Kagawa will surely grow tired of being used sporadically and out of position. And there will be a whole host of suitors from across Europe more than happy to play him as a number 10.
But there is an alternative that could see him succeed at Old Trafford after all. Quite simply, United have to employ his former manager Jurgen Klopp.
What they would give to have him in charge now; one of the world’s most talented young managers, and someone who knows exactly how to get the best out of Kagawa.
For now it will not happen, with Klopp continuing to excel in Germany and Moyes certain to be given time. But with each poor result, and each match in which Kagawa is unable to shine, United fans may start to wonder…
Is Klopp the manager United should have done everything to bring in this season? And what does the future hold for Kagawa?
image: © Schwenke