Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is prepared to sell Japan international Shinji Kagawa before the summer transfer window closes on September 1. The Dutch coach has several playmakers at his disposal - and has decided that Kagawa is the most dispensable.
According to the London Evening Standard, Van Gaal is willing to sell the 25-year-old at the right price. Kagawa arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2012 from Borussia Dortmund, where he cemented his reputation as one of Europe’s best No. 10s, but has failed to reproduce his best form for the Red Devils.
Kagawa: Man United's fourth-choice No. 10
Kagawa looked bright on Manchester United’s successful pre-season tour of the United States, but Van Gaal is unable to offer the player regular first-team football this season.
Juan Mata, who United signed from Chelsea for a club-record fee of £37.1 million in January, is currently the Red Devils’ main playmaker; Wayne Rooney can also play in that position, while it’s believed Van Gaal believes Adnan Januzaj will eventually become a central playmaker, rather than a winger.
Ferguson and Moyes struggled to use Kagawa
Playing Kagawa in his favoured No. 10 role proved a dilemma for Van Gaal’s two previous processors, David Moyes and Sir Alex Ferguson, who both often ended up deploying the Japanese star on the left wing.
Van Gaal is reluctant to go down the same path. He knows that Kagawa is far less effective playing on the left flank, and in any case his 3-5-2 formation is a system which does not suit traditional attack-minded wingers. Kagawa is not capable of being played in a wing-back position, so Van Gaal is happy to sell.
Watch: Shinji Kagawa in action
Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid
Despite his struggles at Old Trafford, only two clubs have been strongly linked with Kagawa over recent months.
Borussia Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp remains a huge fan of the technically-gifted playmaker following his exploits at Signal Iduna Park between 2010 and 2012.
Klopp admitted in May 2013 that his “heart breaks” whenever he saw Ferguson playing Kagawa out on the left wing - and the idea of a return to he Bundesliga club is likely to appeal to the player.
Atletico Madrid were also linked with Kagawa earlier this summer, but the La Liga champions’ head coach Diego Simeone appears to have cooled his interest in recent weeks. having secured the services of France international Antoine Griezmann from Real Sociedad.
Van Gaal could have a clear-out of several fringe players over the next 10 days, with Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck also believed to be on the brink of leaving Old Trafford.