Sunday, 20 January 2019

 

Kagawa on the Move?

Shinji Kagawa has reportedly grown frustrated with his lack of playing time at Borussia Dortmund and is looking to leave the Bundesliga leaders in the January transfer window. Kagawa had been a regular under Thomas Tuchel in his reign, while he was also an important player last season under both Peter Bosz and Peter Stoger. However, the arrival of Lucien Favre saw the Japanese fall out of the pecking order in the Dortmund midfield.

The 29-year-old has played only two matches for Die Schwarzgelben in the league this term as Favre has put faith in the younger members of the squad to carry the club’s title challenge. Jadon Sancho, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Maximilian Philipp and Christian Pulisic have all risen to the occasion, leaving Kagawa on the periphery of the squad. Dortmund have made an imperious start to the season with the quartet, along with Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer, leading the way in the final third. Favre’s men hold a lead at the top of the table, which has seen them backed in the football betting odds at 4/6 to win the crown for the first time since 2012.

The revolution of young talent at Dortmund has left Kagawa in a crossroads at his career. He’s still good enough to play at the highest level and has eyed a move to Spain. Kagawa does not have the talent to be a regular for Barcelona or Real Madrid. However, there are enough teams in and around the two giants this term that would accommodate the Japanese in their midfield. A club like Atletico Madrid would suit his needs, relying on his hard work and talent to turn the game on its head in an instant. Whether the 29-year-old would be a regular starter for Diego Simeone is another matter, although the Argentine would relish a player of his quality and work ethic. Sevilla, Valencia or Real Betis would also make a great deal of sense.

Source image: @thefield_in via Twitter

A return to England might also offer Kagawa a chance to find his form once again. There are ample clubs that could afford to bring him back to the Premier League, where he played two seasons for Manchester United. He proved that he could handle himself in England's top-flight, although he was never able to nail down a permanent starting place. Teams in mid-table or pushing for a Europa League place may be the perfect landing spot – in the ilk of West Ham or Everton.

It would offer a high-profile location that would hand him the opportunity to stake his claim for an international recall.Kagawa was left out of Hajime Moriyasu’s squad for the Asian Cup, along with nearly all of the Samurai Blue veterans -- a clear indication that the new Japan coach has turned the page on Kagawa's generation. The midfielder played in three of Japan’s four matches at the 2018 World Cup, including their heart-breaking defeat to Belgium in the round of 16. He proved in that contest he still has a great deal to offer his national team and with regular games under his belt, Kagawa will be an asset to any team that secures his signature in January.

Kagawa was featured on the cover of JSoccer Magazine issue 7 (above). Where will he be heading next?