Shinji Kagawa was bought for a mere €350,000 from Cerezo Osaka by Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2010 and immediately showed why that was a bargain price.
In his first campaign in the Bundesliga, the adroit midfielder launched himself into stardom, scoring eight goals in 18 league games and winning the title.
Kagawa, despite being out with injury for half of the season, was also named in the Bundesliga best XI. The following season proved to be even more fruitful for the young Japanese talent as he won both league and domestic cup in Germany. Kagawa also managed to score in the final of the latter competition against Bayern Munich.
Manchester United move
Kagawa’s superb performances attracted the interest of Europe’s top clubs and in the summer of 2012, Kagawa’s spell in the Bundesliga came to an end when he joined Manchester United on a four-year deal.
The Japanese midfielder had a bright start to his Premier League career. In his first season, he won the league with the English giants. He also managed to score against Fulham on his home debut and netted a hat-trick at Norwich. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, Kagawa was played in his most effective role behind the strikers, where he was able to show off his full range of abilities.
Suffering under Moyes
However, under the ill-fated reign of David Moyes, Kagawa’s career took a turn for the worst. Moyes’ prefered lineup meant that Kagawa was pushed out wide, where he isn’t as potent.
A perfect example is the 2013 home match against Norwich. Ferguson was willing to make changes to put Kagawa in the number 10 role and he subsequently went on to score a hat-trick that day.
The emergence of Adnan Januzaj and the purchase of Juan Mata in the winter transfer window then further diminished his playing time. Kagawa’s former manager, Jurgen Klopp, was astonished by the situation at United and exclaimed: "Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United – on the left wing!"
Despite displaying a few a good performances under interim manager Ryan Giggs at the end of the season, Kagawa’s future is still surrounded by uncertainty. He finished the 2013/14 Premier League season with 18 appearances and three assists.
If new boss Louis van Gaal does decides to keep Kagawa, hopefully he will be able to revive the lost star’s career. Otherwise, a return to Signal Iduna Park could be on the cards.
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