Uncertainty over Shinji Kagawa’s future at Manchester United has been linked with two different exchange deals involving key personnel at Borussia Dortmund. Kagawa has made just one Premier League appearance thus far under David Moyes. That the Japan international has been marginalized at a time when United have desperately lacked creativity has led to much conjecture.
While Kagawa did not have an ideal debut season at Old Trafford, in no small part due to injuries, he still showed plenty of promise. Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson repeatedly spoke of his expectation that Kagawa would truly flourish in his second campaign at Old Trafford. So far, there are few signs of that happening.
One place where he undoubtedly still has a major admirer is at former club Dortmund. Last season his former boss Jurgen Klopp spoke of his pain at his former player being, in his opinion, underused.
"Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United -- on the left wing!” he told The Guardian in May. “My heart breaks. Really, I have tears in my eyes.”
One can only wonder the waterworks that Klopp must be experiencing with Kagawa’s current predicament. This summer, Klopp revealed that he offered Kagawa a return to Dortmund to replace Mario Gotze, but the 24-year-old was adamant that he wanted to succeed at Old Trafford this season. How long that resolve will last if the current situation continues remains to be seen.
Marco Reus was the man signed by Dortmund in 2012 to replace Kagawa and there is now speculation, reported by Talksport, that the pair could be involved in some form of exchange deal. Reus has been a huge success since arriving at the Westfalenstadion and there has been much talk in recent months about interest from the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and United.
While Klopp might welcome Kagawa back with open arms he will doubtless have no intention of losing yet another star, following Gotze’s exit to Bayern Munich this summer and with Robert Lewandowski almost certain to go the same way at the end of the season.
According to Portuguese publication A Bola, another option is for Kagawa to be exchanged for Dortmund central defender Neven Subotic in the January transfer window. The 24-year-old Serbia international has been a regular for Dortmund since being signed from Mainz in 2008. As with Reus, Dortmund will be in no mood to lose Subotic, even if it means the return of Kagawa. United have long been linked with Subotic, as well as his central-defensive partner Mats Hummels.
In other news, Manchester United have been named as one of the clubs monitoring Karim Benzema’s situation at Real Madrid. The 25-year-old, who has been tracked by United since his time at Lyon, has had a poor start to the season and has faced jeers from his own club’s fans. The Sunday People claims that Real Madrid have lost faith in the France international to the degree where his representatives have been told to find him a new club. Benzema, though, has stated his intention to simply work to get his form back in front of goal and win the fans over.
"There is no problem for me, so I just have to keep working," he said, according to Talksport. "I am calm -- the most important thing is to play. I need to defend more -- I get the public message. I will continue to give my all."