Shinji Kagawa was voted the best player in the Bundesliga the season before he joined Manchester United, so despite winning the title in his first season, we’ve yet to see the best of him. He spent a large chunk of the earlier part of the season injured and has made most of his appearances on the left wing, instead of the central role he prefers.
This coming weekend poses some questions for Kagawa. His former team, Borussia Dortmund, play in the European Cup final and that is something he certainly would have been involved in. You would imagine he can see the bigger picture though and realistically hope to play in the final with us some day.
This season, only three players had more goals for us in the league than Kagawa and it is likely he will get more playing time next season, particularly if Wayne Rooney leaves.
Jurgen Klopp, Dortmund’s manager, has claimed that it breaks his heart to see Kagawa play such a limited role for United.
“Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United – on the left wing! My heart breaks. Really, I have tears in my eyes,” Klopp said. “Central midfield is Shinji’s best role. He’s an offensive midfielder with one of the best noses for goal I ever saw. But for most Japanese people it means more to play for Man United than Dortmund. We cried for 20 minutes, in each others’ arms, when he left.”