Jurgen Klopp is optimistic that Shinji Kagawa will be able to make an immediate impact after signing from Manchester United, although concedes it will take some time for the Japan international to reach his form of old with Borussia Dortmund.
Kagawa returned to Dortmund on deadline day having failed to live up expectation at Old Trafford, with his former club paying just €8 million to confirm his acquisition only two years after he had departed for Manchester United.
The 25-year-old’s role upon his arrival back in Dortmund has taken on an even greater importance after the injury sustained by the pivotal Marco Reus, who will be out for around a month after once again injuring ligaments in his left ankle.
Klopp believes Kagawa is ready to fill the hole created given his performances on the training field since his move, but has moved to manage the expectations of supporters, who will fondly remember his halcyon days at the Westfalenstadion.
"We cannot afford to wait for a few more weeks before we bring Kagawa," Klopp told Kicker. "Shinji will be very important to us right away.
“He has made a good impression on the training pitch in the past few days and has shown that he still has plenty to offer - although we realise that we cannot expect Shinji to be back to his former best from two years ago right away."
Whisper it softly, but it may well be that Kagawa eventually replaces Reus on more than just a temporary basis, with the latter expected to leave BVB next summer or, perhaps, even in the January transfer window.
Manchester United have inevitably been linked with the Germany international and, perhaps, sanctioned the sale of Kagawa as a way to smooth any potential negotiations regarding Reus in either of the next two transfer windows.
The 25-year-old has a release clause of £19.8 million written into his contract that can be activated at the end of the season, and Manchester United will be one of several clubs keen to recruit the player for such an attractive fee.
Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have also been credited with an interest in Reus, although United may be quietly confident that their relationship with BVB makes them favourites.