Name: Shinji Kagawa
Every club left, right and center have been battling for Shinji Kagawa's signature, it seems his name is all over the place being linked with everyone. No matter where we look there is someone new being linked to the Japanese midfielder. But there must be no one who wants Kagawa more than his current club, Borussia Dortmund, with whom his contract ends in 2013.
With 42 starts this season and 19 goals, he slipped himself right back into the starting XI of the Bundesliga table-toppers after missing the second half of the previous season.
Generally an attacking midfielder, Shinji most often plays behind the main striker, usually Pole Robert Lewandowski. He can pull forward with the striker and drop back and help out the defensive midfielders, generally Bender and Kehl. He is also rather versatile, as he can fill in as a winger when needed.
As a play for Japan, Kagawa has capped a total of 29 times for the senior side, netting nine times. In 2011, he became an integral part of Japan's AFC Asia Cup champions side that dominated the competition. He was unstoppable against anything except a season-ending injury in the form of a broken metatarsal, acquired in the semifinals versus South Korea.
But the question is: Who is Shinji as a player beyond stats?
First off, Shinji has the amazing vision and passing ability necessary to play for a team like consecutive Bundesliga winners Dortmund. His quick, short passes are supreme and he fits right into the style of Borussia Dortmund and other teams such as Barcelona and Arsenal.
His vision is sublime and he can execute difficult passes most others players wouldn't try. He can make those defense-splitting passes that blow your mind. He is constantly moving and his shooting ability is there, as he is willing to bang in a shot when the time is right.
Opposing defenders are often left chasing shadows when he plays. When he dribbles, he manages to shrug off challenges and keep on going. With the ball, he is always trying to break free; but, even without the ball at his feet, he is consistently trying to open up space for his teammates and himself.
Kagawa is type of player who effectively calculates situations and scenarios in avoiding pointless expeditions. This is especially evident when he goes to dribble.
He a hard-working and determined player, but some might consider his short stature an obstacle. He is only around 5'7", so he may find the going tough and not excel in more physical leagues like the English Premier League.
People have pointed out in the past that Shinji often stands back and won't necessarily challenge for the ball, sometimes losing concentration when awaiting for opportunities. When that happens, defenders can get too close, making the oncoming assault difficult.
But, who wants to buy Shinji Kagawa?
Borussia Dortmund, first and foremost. They want to keep him around as long as possible and hopefully try for a third consecutive Bundesliga title. According to Crunchsports, Kagawa's agent denied links with English Premier league rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.
AC Milan were also said to have him on their radar, speculation further spurred by Inter's Nagatomo expressing that he feels Shinji would do well in Serie A. Here is a great article from Goal.com delving into the topic of where Kagawa may end up next season, including Liverpool, Manchester United, Juventus and both Milan clubs.