Sir Alex Ferguson believes his successor, David Moyes, caused Japan international Shinji Kagawa to leave Manchester United for Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
Speaking to German newspaper Bild, the United legend said that Moyes’ decision to spend a club-record fee on Spanish playmaker Juan Mata in January effectively signalled the end of Kagawa’s brief spell at Old Trafford.
"Shinji is back in the environment in which he feels right. And he has with [Jurgen] Klopp a coach who gives him the necessary self-confidence,” Ferguson commented. "I was very pleased with Shinji. He had settled in well with me, and I also had the feeling that he felt comfortable with us. "
"Every coach has his own philosophy. As Moyes preferred the Spanish superstar Mata, Kagawa has felt that he is no longer first choice and was a bit resigned."
Ferguson and Moyes failed to get best out of Kagawa
In truth, Kagawa ended up playing a peripheral role under both Moyes and Ferguson following his £12 million move from Dortmund in the summer of 2012.
The 25-year-old made 26 appearances in all competitions during his debut campaign at Old Trafford, which was hampered by injuries, and featured 30 times - mainly as a substitute - in Moyes’ one and only season in charge of the Red Devils.
Van Gaal wasn't convinced, either
Despite playing under Louis van Gaal during the club’s pre-season tour of the United States, Kagawa failed to make an impression on the veteran Dutch coach and was subsequently granted permission to reunite with Klopp at Signal Iduna Park.
Kagawa arrived at Old Trafford two years ago hoping to cement his status as United’s first-choice number ten; however, the Japanese ace was often deployed on the left wing, where he was much less effective.
Van Persie arrival hindered Kagawa
Ferguson, it’s presumed, would have stuck with Kagawa as his key player had he not made a decision late in the summer of 2012 to purchase Robin van Persie from Arsenal.
The Dutchman’s arrival meant Wayne Rooney dropped into the No. 10 role, forcing Kagawa out to the wing.
The arrival of Mata last season, meanwhile, meant Kagawa barely featured in United’s starting line-up during the second half of the 2013-14 campaign.
Kagawa back at BVB
The attacking midfielder is now back at the club where he established his reputation as one of European football’s most effective playmakers.
Kagawa scored a goal and provided an assist on his debut against Freiburg in late August, but it’s been an immensely disappointing start to the 2014-15 Bundesliga campaign for the 2013 Champions League finalists.
BVB have picked up two wins from their opening seven matches, leaving them 13th in the Bundesliga table and already ten points behind league-leaders Bayern Munich.
[Quotes translated by Sport Witness]