Life was never easy for Shinji Kagawa at Old Trafford. It's not as though people weren't convinced of his talent - to the contrary, the Red Devils faithful were encouraging the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes to grant him more opportunities to strut his stuff. After all, this was a player who had been named in the Bundesliga Team of the Season two years in a row, as he helped Borussia Dortmund to successive titles and cup success. Injuries limited his impact in his debut season, however, and by the time Moyes took control, Kagawa was either shunted out wide in an unfamiliar position or left to rot on the bench. One might say that the Japanese playmaker should have taken the hint when the club splashed out £37 million in January to acquire the services of a player who already operated in Kagawa's role. The writing was surely on the wall for the little maestro. "My decision was clear, I wanted to return to Borussia Dortmund and only to Borussia Dortmund. Only facts matter in football, stats, goals, assists, titles, and a lot was missing in this regard. That was probably why they no longer included me in their plans. Everybody knows that my second year at Manchester United was particularly difficult. The manager did not really count on me, and the team was also on a bad run.." - Shinji Kagawa, September 2014. With Louis van Gaal assuming the reigns from Moyes in May, the overhaul commenced following the World Cup and Kagawa looked to have escaped the cast cull, with supporters hoping for the Japanese star have a new lease of life under the Dutchman. On transfer deadline day, however, following the purchases of Angel di Maria, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind, he was whisked back to Germany.
''You could see that it was a huge relief for Shinji Kagawa. There were some comments from his coach that prompted him to return to Dortmund. Everything that he's been missing in the past few months, he'll get back here again.'' - Sebastien Kehl, September 2014.
Recent Journalism & New Media graduate. Insatiable thirst for all things football, and hopes to break into the field of sports journalism in the near future.
Have made a significantly insignificant playing career out of receiving several slaps around the head for not passing the ball.