Transfer Tales: Shinji Kagawa

Friday 23 June 2023 07:00

Manchester United face Borussia Dortmund as part of Tour 2023 so we are looking back at the signing of Shinji Kagawa from the Bundesliga club in 2012.

The Japanese midfielder, who earned 97 caps for his country, and became the first player from his homeland to win a Premier League title in his first season and he memorably netted a hat-trick against Norwich City during that campaign.

In advance of the Las Vegas clash on 30 July, here is a recap of the deal to bring Kagawa to Manchester as Sir Alex Ferguson swooped for the talented performer.

Shinji Kagawa scored a hat-trick in the win over Norwich City at Old Trafford.

A dazzling performance in the German Cup final against Bayern Munich in front of the watching Sir Alex proved that the Japan international was capable of being a big-game player.

Although Dortmund desperately wanted to retain their creative spark, the lure of Old Trafford proved impossible to resist for the classy attacking midfielder. It was pretty clear that United would have a clear run at Kagawa if they could convince Dortmund to sell and the manager saw him as somebody who could make a big impact.

“He could make a difference,” stated Ferguson at the time. “He can give us that extra in the final third of the field. Shinji is an exciting young midfielder with great skill, vision and a good eye for goal. I’m delighted he has chosen to come to United. He is suited to United’s style of play and we are all looking forward to working with him.”

Kagawa was aware he would be catapulted into superstardom at United but took his first press conference in his stride.

“I definitely feel the attention of the media globally now,” he conceded. “I think I can handle the pressure and am pretty confident I can adapt to the style of the Premier League.”

As the club’s first-ever Japanese player, the attention was huge with a vast number of reporters from his homeland attending the introduction and Old Trafford and vowing to follow his every move in the red shirt.

Shinji made 57 appearances for the club before returning to Dortmund in 2014. The 34-year-old rejoined Cerezo Osaka last January.