Manchester United star following £28m flop's footsteps

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Football News

Back in 2001, Manchester United announced one of the most exciting signings in their history: the arrival of the revered Argentina international Juan Sebastian Veron from Lazio.

Widely regarded as one of the world's elite midfielders, the Red Devils paid a cool £28.1m for Veron, who was undoubtedly one of the best passers in Europe at that moment in time.

Blessed with extraordinary vision, Veron lit up Serie A - and he was expected to do the same on a weekly basis in the Premier League.

But, two years later, Veron was sold to Chelsea for just £15m after failing to find his feet in Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

There was still no denying his exceptional quality; he proved it every time he took to the pitch - in the Champions League, at least.

The Premier League was a different story. Ferguson admitted years later that he simply had no idea where to play Veron in his system, and subsequently failed to get the best out of one of his most expensive signings.

The Scot also revealed in his recently-released autobiography that Veron was less than committed when it came to learning English when he arrived in Manchester, which hardly improved his chances of becoming a success in a team alongside the likes of Paul Scholes and Roy Keane.

Veron's struggles bear striking similarities to the current plight of Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa, who was excellent during Wednesday night's 5-0 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League, but has largely endured a frustrating time since arriving at Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund in 2012.

Often benched or played out of position, Kagawa has been a shadow of the player who inspired Dortmund to back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012.

The lynchpin of that side, Kagawa flourished in the No. 10 role - but has seldom been played there by Ferguson or, more recently, David Moyes since joining United for an initial £12m fee.

However, following Wednesday's fine performance, Moyes now knows exactly what Kagawa is capable of producing when deployed in his natural position.

That, however, leaves the Red Devils boss with a major selection headache ahead of the most hectic period in Manchester United's season.

Does he keep Kagawa in the No. 10 role, but drop Robin van Persie? Does he shift Kagawa back to the left and keep Wayne Rooney in the hole - risking more ineffective performances from the Japan international? Or will he opt to leave him out of United's big Premier League clashes and save him for European ties?

There's a danger that Moyes could stray towards the last option. And that would only increase his chances of following the same ill-fated path as Seba Veron.

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Premier League
Shinji Kagawa
Manchester United

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