Football

Hazard v Kagawa

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Chelsea and Manchester United are once again proving to be the early pacesetters in this summer's transfer window, having already shown their intentions to mount a serious challenge on next season's Premier League title, with the acquisition of two blockbuster signings.

After highly-rated Belgian international Eden Hazard announced his decision to swap Lille for Stamford Bridge, joining this year's Champions League winners in favour of a number of other Premier League offers, the Red Devils responded with the capture of Japanese star Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund.

Both players are young, hungry, attacking midfield additions, who possess excellent skills and dribbling techniques that will be sure to light up the Premier League stage next season. But, the question on everybody's lips is which club has struck the greatest deal? GiveMeFootball investigates...




Head-to-head
Eden Hazard Shinji Kagawa
Club apps:
192 198
Goals: 50 86
Assists: 38 45
Cost: £32m £18m
International: 28 caps 2 goals 30 caps 10 goals


Eden Hazard

The 21-year-old first arrived in France back in 2005 when he signed for Lille from Belgian side Tubize, and went on to establish himself as one of the brightest young prospects in Ligue 1, ever since he was named Young Player of the Year at the tender age of 17, in 2008-09.

A versatile attacker who can play out wide on either flank, behind the frontman or as an out-and-out striker, Hazard favours the No.10 role, and explained that his decision to join Chelsea was partly based on the opportunity to play more regularly in that position.

His standout season came in 2010-11, when Hazard helped Lille to the domestic league and cup double with a series of scintillating displays that culminated in his stock continuing to rise rapidly.

But, despite widespread interest from across Europe last summer, the sought after forward committed to one last hurrah with the club that provided him the platform to flourish into the exciting player he is today.

In his final season, Hazard chipped in with 21 goals and 18 assists in 48 games, and continued to play an integral role as Lille finished third behind Montpellier and Paris Saint-Germain, to qualify for the Champions League.

He signed off in style after being handed the captain's armband for his final game, where he scored a memorable hat-trick against Nancy in a devastating first-half display.

On the international stage, Hazard has struggled to shine, making his debut against Luxembourg in 2008, he has 28 caps to his name. The most recent of which came in the 1-0 friendly defeat against England on Saturday.


Shinji Kagawa

The 23-year-old has emerged as one of Asia's top players and is the driving force in the Japanese national team, whilst also playing an instrumental part in Borussia Dortmund's domestic double-winnning campaign this year.

The Bundesliga giants spotted Kagawa's potential whilst playing for Cerezo Osaka in his homeland, a club he became a first-team regular after signing professional forms before graduating from high school.

In his final full season in the J-League, Kagawa bagged 27 goals in 44 appearances, before an inevitable move to Europe followed for the attacking midfielder in 2010, with Dortmund paying a bargain €350,000 to bring him to Germany where he quickly became a crowd favourite.

After suffering a metatarsal injury at the 2011 Asian Cup, the Japanese international's progress was interrupted slightly, but a return of eight goals in 18 appearances ensured Kagawa was named in the 2010-11 Bundesliga Team of the Season, despite a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Last season, in the absence of Mario Gotze, he took over the mantle as a key performer for Dortmund with 13 league goals and numerous assists, as the club both retained the title and lifted the German Cup - with Kagawa scoring another three goals - with an emphatic 5-2 victory over Bayern Munich.

Sir Alex Ferguson made a personal check on the creative midfielder in Berlin, to see him score the opening goal and dazzle throughout the showpiece final, living up to his billing as a born entertainer. Given the artistic license to do so, Kagawa could earn further plaudits at Old Trafford next season.

Dortmund were understandably reluctant to allow their star turn to leave this summer, but with only a year left on his contract, and suggestions he would not sign a new deal, Kagawa has been granted his wish to pursue a dream move to England to link up with Manchester United.

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Topics:
Football
Chelsea
Premier League
Manchester United

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