Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has revealed the reason why Shinji Kagawa turned down the opportunity to join him at Real Madrid, saying that he was guaranteed regular first-team football at Manchester United, reports The Sport Review.
The Blues boss made contact with the former Borussia Dortmund star's agent in 2012, to enquire about the midfielder's interest in a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Kagawa was told in no uncertain terms that he would remain second choice to Mesut Ozil, which prompted the Japan international to snub Real Madrid's advances in favour of completing a transfer to Old Trafford.
"We were looking for a player to be behind Mesut Özil," explained Mourinho, who enjoyed three years in the Spanish capital before returning to Stamford Bridge in the summer.
"Of course [he is] a good player because in Real Madrid you cannot have bad players – you look always to good players even if you don't want them to be first choice.
"I spoke with his agent and told him we'd be interested but he decided not to come because he wanted to play every weekend."
Sadly for Kagawa, regular opportunities in the Manchester United first-team have not been forthcoming, neither under Sir Alex Ferguson last season, nor David Moyes in 2013/14.
Rumours of unrest have led to speculation linking the 24-year-old with a move away from the Red Devils in January, and Mourinho appeared unsympathetic in the situation that Manchester United have brought upon themselves.
"We were honest with him by saying that Özil was our first choice," the Chelsea boss added. "This is a thing that happens a lot – when you are honest, you make the player make the best decision for his career."