Manchester United may have missed out on the signing of Eden Hazard, but the club on Tuesday confirmed that terms have been agreed over the transfer of Shinji Kagawa. Although no fee has been formally revealed, it has been widely reported that the Borussia Dortmund star will arrive for an initial £12 million, potentially rising by £5 million, based on various clauses.
Ending their widely reported pursuit of the Japanese international, which included a visit to watch Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal final last month, United has also agreed personal terms with Kagawa. The club states it expects the player to pass a medical and receive a U.K. work permit by the end of June. Kagawa is currently with the Japan squad for the start of the final section of Asian qualification for the 2014 World Cup.
As for Hazard, who formally completed his move to Chelsea yesterday, he has said that he chose a move to Stamford Bridge over Old Trafford, because the Blues represented a better project.
While United's interest in the Belgian international was clear, as much as Hazard electing to join Chelsea, it seems likely that United had also balked on the deal based on the 21-year-old's hefty wage demands. That negotiations for Kagawa had been ongoing for some time suggests that boss Sir Alex Ferguson had cooled on the former Lille man, who eventually cost £32 million.
Although fans have questioned the ability of Ferguson to strengthen the squad given the financial burden laid on the club by the ownership of the Glazers, Kagawa seems unlikely to be the only arrival of significance this summer.
It is believed that Ferguson will still look to add fresh blood to a stale central midfield.
While Luka Modric remains on the radar, United is also thought to hold an interest in Mexican Hector Herrera. The 22-year-old recently won the award for best player at the annual Toulon Tournament, which Mexico won for the first time by beating Turkey 3-0 in the final on Friday.
And Andres Fassi, an official at Herrera's club, Pachuca, has spoken of the interest from United. There is a great relationship with the people of Manchester United, he told Medio Tiempo. Liverpool and Udinese are also reportedly keeping tabs on the player.
United's fans will likely be more familiar with another of United's midfield targets, Yohan Cabaye. The 26-year-old played a big part in Newcastle claiming a surprise fifth place in his first season in the Premier League and is also a key part of the French team for Euro 2012. And Cabaye says he is aware of the link with United.
There are rumors. I am following it a little, he told France Football. But I have four years remaining on my contract with Newcastle.
Today I don't want to know anything. That is what agents are for.
At Newcastle we will play in the Europa League.
Cabaye is not the only Newcastle star to address speculation of a move away from the North East. Striker Papiss Cisse, who it's also claimed is interesting United, has been even more resolute in this commitment to the club he joined in January from Freiburg.
I am very happy in Newcastle and I want to stay there for many years, the Senegal international told Sky Sports.
United is thought to be pursuing a striker to replace the departed Michael Owen and the soon-to-be departed Dimitar Berbatov. As well as Cisse, who hit 13 goals in as many games in the Premier League last term, the club has also been linked with Borussia Dortmund front man Robert Lewandowski.