5 Reasons Shinji Kagawa Will Be Manchester United's Best Player Next Season
Reading Jurgen Klopp's comments about Shinji Kagawa in the lead-up to the Champions League final made me want to cry "Hallelujah!"
Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United on the left wing! My heart breaks. Really, I have tears in my eyes.
Central midfield is Shinji's best role. He's an offensive midfielder with one of the best noses for goal I ever saw. But for most Japanese people it means more to play for Man United than Dortmund.
The Japan international was impressive in spurts last season, but was hampered by several niggling issues.
He is on the verge of something special for the Red Devils, and it is my belief he could be the side's best player next term.
Here are five reasons why.
A Decent Run of Games
If Kagawa had an underwhelming season for United, it wasn't entirely due to him being played out of position by Sir Alex Ferguson.
He spent a fair amount of time out injured. Even when fit, he was often kept on the sidelines with Wayne Rooney playing his preferred role.
However, the English forward didn't want to play in attacking midfield, and is now demanding to leave the club because of it. It's a shame Kagawa wasn't given more of a chance in this role.
Next season, providing Rooney leaves, Kagawa should become United's automatic first-choice trequartista.
With a decent run of games, his improvement would be accelerated.
There's a reason David Moyes' Everton usually finished the season strong.
The Scottish manager is renowned for pushing his players to their physical limits with brutal training regimes and drills.
He will bring this work ethic to Old Trafford, and Shinji Kagawa will surely be someone who benefits the most.
Kagawa uses his nimble frame to his advantage during games, but could still stand to bulk up slightly to suit the British game.
There were also games last term when he looked jaded after the hour mark and had to be substituted. Moyes will put this right.
David Moyes' likely tactical approach at Manchester United holds great potential for Kagawa.
The Scotsman essentially deployed a second forward at Everton, with Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini inhabiting the role at various times.
Kagawa would play behind Robin van Persie as more of a link with those behind him, playing between the lines.
Moyes will give full-backs Rafael and Patrice Evra scope to push forward down the flanks and create mismatches with opposing defenders.
Kagawa will thrive operating with greater attacking options on the wings.
Let's not ignore the obvious: Shinji Kagawa's immense natural talent. That's why he could be the Red Devils' best player next season.
Jurgen Klopp thinks so. At Borussia Dortmund, Kagawa was a constant menace for opposing teams, drifting in and out of small pockets of space to keep possession.
He would harry defenders, forcing turnovers further up the pitch.
His close control is exceptional, as is his ability to turn on a dime and accelerate. One gets the feeling we haven't seen him at his physical peak at Old Trafford yet.
Oh, and he's a goalscorer, too. In Germany, he struck 21 times in 49 total Bundesliga appearances.
Some players adapt to life at a new club immediately, others take a little longer.
Shinji Kagawa could be excused a stop-start debut season in Manchester for his having to adapt to a new country, new language and, most importantly, new teammates.
He linked up with some better than others in games. The Red Devils' wingers certainly didn't give him much to work with.
It must also be said that if David Moyes buys a box-to-box midfielder this summer, which is looking increasingly likely, this will make life a lot easier for Kagawa.
He will no longer be the rookie at Old Trafford, but a player on the brink of establishing himself as a massive influence.
What do you think next season has in store for Kagawa?