Following the announcement that Mario Gotze will depart Borussia Dortmund for fierce rivals Bayern Munich, fans of last season’s Bundesliga champions have voted on who they would like to replace the departing youth prodigy and one man dominated the vote; Shinji Kagawa.
The list, which appeared in German newspaper Kicker featured a number of the most talented young players in European football with Schalke’s Julian Draxler, Hamburg’s Heung Min Son, VFL Bochum’s teenage star Leon Goretza and Malaga’s Isco all receiving the nod from Dortmund fans.
But it was former player Shinji Kagawa who topped the list with a landslide 33% of the votes.
Kagawa left Dortmund in a £17 million deal last summer and has impressed in parts during his debut season including a fabulous hat-trick against Norwich in March as well as a great display against West Ham at Upton Park.
The Japanese playmaker has at times struggled with the physicality in the Premier League, enduring his fair share of injury problems, and despite finishing his first year at Old Trafford with a Premier League medal, he recently admitted he feels like he had more to give for United.
The 24-year-old has featured frequently from the left flank of late in an Andres Iniesta-type role which is quite clearly not his best position. His natural game is more suited to the intricate duties that come with the number #10 role operating behind the striker.
It would be fair to say that United haven’t quite seen the same performances that saw Kagawa scored ten goals and bag 17 assists in 38 apperances with Dortmund.
Despite clearly still being held in high regard from the fans, a move back to his former team looks a long-shot particularly with Kagawa widely tipped to establish himself in United’s starting eleven next season.
After a settling in period, many are excited to see if Kagawa can really make his mark in the 2013/14 campaign and recapture the form that made him one of Europe’s most deadly midfielders in the 2011/12 season.