Shinji Kagawa has had a mixed season in his first year with Manchester United. Signed from Borussia Dortmund in the summer plenty was expected of the Japanese international after an exceptional season in the Bundesliga.
Unfortunately injuries have taken their toll on his progress this campaign but recently he has shown flashes of his brilliance in; including an excellent hat-trick against Norwich City.
The decision to sign Kagawa however is not just a footballing one; as it also makes massive commercial sense to bring in the current face of Japanese football.
Kagawa has followed in the footsteps of the likes of Hidetoshi Nakata, Shunsuke Nakamura and Keisuke Honda as the face of football in the Land of the Rising Sun.
His ability is one thing but on top of that is his personality as a committed and friendly sportsperson; accessible to the majority of the Japanese population make him an extremely popular figure in Japan.
Across the water in South Korea they too are looking for a new face of the sport. The days of Seol Ki-Hyon, Ahn Jung-Hwan and even Park Ji-Sung are now seemingly in the past. Park was the previous man to dominate the landscape when it came to players from the more sane part of the Korean peninsula. Nowadays he spends most of his time languishing on the QPR bench or coming on to the green rectangle and reminding us all of how far his stock has fallen; how much his ability has diminished since being Sir Alex Ferguson’s one-time go-to guy for the big occasion.
South Korea have options; the likes of Kim Bo-Kyung, Ki Sung-Yeung and Koo Ja-Cheol are all options for the role. But as marketable as these young men are surely there is nobody better for the role than the Hamburg SV forward Heung Min-Son?
Which brings us to Manchester United.
Tottenham Hotspur appear to be the favourites to snap him up according to recent reports while the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Internazionale, Bayern Munich and pretty much anyone who is anyone.
Why not? He is fast, skilful, accurate in front of goal and possesses excellent technical ability; he is a modern day footballing dream. Not to mention the fact he is only 20-years-old.
While talk of a new deal with Hamburg is ongoing one team who may just take an interest in his signature will be Manchester United; as signing him would cement their standing as the premium team in the Far East.
While his footballing credentials alone are enough to warrant any interest from Old Trafford there is little doubt that dominating both the Japanese and South Korean markets by having both countries marquee players would be an excellent commercial move for the club.
The only problem is … United do not really need him.
With Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez, Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and even Shinji Kagawa himself all looking to accommodate the attacking roles someone would have to go.
Would it be a risk worth taking … time will tell.
Would you like to see Son at Old Trafford?
image: © simononly
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