Mats Hummels claims it would be the "greatest pleasure" to welcome Shinji Kagawa back to Borussia Dortmund, while the German defender also says he doesn't "waste any thoughts" on leaving the Westfalenstadion.
Hummels spoke openly about the possibility of reuniting with Kagawa, who left Dortmund to join Manchester United in 2012, during an interview with German magazine kicker (via Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN FC):
We would take Shinji with the greatest pleasure. To form an attacking midfield with [Marco] Reus, [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan and Kagawa -- that would absolutely have style. And that’s nothing against our other amazing players. The attacking midfield, also without Shinji, is our best staffed part of the team.
Kagawa was instrumental in Dortmund's back-to-back Bundesliga titles before Bayern Munich reasserted themselves at the top of the pile. Dominance shown by those at the Allianz Arena doesn't threaten to cease any time soon, especially considering Pep Guardiola has maintained a winning mentality since taking over for Jupp Heynckes.
A player of Kagawa's quality could bring Dortmund closer to Bayern's standards. It's a potentially enticing move for the Japanese international, who has failed to consistently impress at United. Often pushed away from his favourite No. 10 role and out onto the left wing, the recently sacked David Moyes appeared to suggest Kagawa was surplus to requirements when purchasing Juan Mata in January.
Ryan Giggs, the Red Devils' interim manager, started Kagawa during his debut game in charge. The 25-year-old failed to make a lasting impression and eventually watched on as Mata netted two from the bench. Kagawa has continuously been linked with a move back to Dortmund since landing in England, and most recently, he was tipped for a loan move by Tony Dawber of The Mirror.
Jurgen Klopp discussed the frustration of watching Kagawa at United in May 2013, per The Guardian (via David Kent of the Mail Online):
"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."
With no goals and just three assists in 24 appearances across the Premier League and Europe this campaign, Kagawa may be offloaded by United's next permanent manager, per WhoScored.com.
Although Hummels acknowledges Dortmund are stacked in attacking midfield, he admits "nobody would have anything against having another player with those qualities," per Uersfeld's article.
The centre-back indicated he is committed to a future with Dortmund and backed away from suggestions he could join United or Barcelona during the summer. He also took a thinly veiled swipe at Mario Goetze, who left Dortmund to become a sporadic starter at Bayern, as reported by German outlet Bild (via Uersfeld):
When I end my career, I don’t need to win eight championships, I’d rather have done something special. And that has certainly been the case here. That’s why I don’t waste any thoughts on this [leaving Dortmund] at the moments. I rather win one championship as a key player than four championships as a part-time player.
Hummels has suffered with injury in recent times, but he still remains one of Europe's most prominent centre-backs. Tall, powerful and with excellent distribution skills, he embodies the exciting, free-flowing model Dortmund have adopted over previous years.
Both United and Barcelona need to add world-class centre-backs to their squads in the summer. Hummels' array of attributes ensures he could excel in the Premier League or La Liga, making him a top candidate for elite clubs across the continent.
As ever, Hummels remains focused on Dortmund. His wish to see Kagawa return underlines the tight-knit group Klopp has built over the years and suggests that, if Dortmund are to topple their Bavarian rivals, an extra dousing of firepower will be needed.