Could Dortmund's surprise enquiry be a sign they will return for Shinji Kagawa?

How long does Shinji Kagawa have to prove himself at Manchester United before his former club come calling?

Juan Mata's arrival at Manchester United poses several questions, and David Moyes even admits he faces a question over how to best fit him into the side alongside Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.

With golden boy Adnan Januzaj a priority inclusion too, Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa is in danger of becoming a forgotten man.

A £16 million signing 18 months ago, he has the unimpressive record of no goals, no assists, and only nine key passes in the Premier League all season.

PlayerTeamGoalsAssistsKey PassesAppsMins
Shinji Kagawa Man Utd 0 0 5 9 588

Last night against Cardiff, the first game since Mata's arrival, Kagawa was an unused substitute, and must be worried about his future.

Acknowledging his underwhelming displays, Kagawa is particularly self-critical and has spoken of his need to improve, and may have limited time to make an impact, for former club Borussia Dortmund are likely to come calling.

The Germans have been regularly linked with bringing the Japanese international back, the player much admired by manager Jurgen Klopp. Kagawa's agent denied a move could happen this January, but a reported bid 24 hours ago hints at their need for him in the summer.

Reliable Italian journalist Gianluca di Marzio reported Inter Milan rejected an enquiry from Dortmund for playmaker Mateo Kovacic.

The Croatian wonderkid has found it tough going at the San Siro since his arrival 12 months ago, but his talent is undeniable and Inter do not want to give up on him early as they did by selling Coutinho to Liverpool.

The offer hints at Dortmund's desire being to bring in a playmaker, and it's going to be tough for them to do so in the final days of the transfer window.

The failed move suggests that Dortmund, if unsuccessful in making a permanent deal before deadline, will continue to push for a playmaker in the summer, and who better than Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa - the club's former icon.

The 24-year-old may just have the remainder of the season to prove himself at Old Trafford, in the opportunities which come his way.

If not, expect Dortmund to come calling, and it would be hard for all parties to decline a sizeable offer.

image: © wuestenigel

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