For the past few seasons, United fans all over have been asking Sir Alex to sign a player that would fall into the category of a ‘Creative’ Midfielder and somehow solve the “Not enough goals from the mid-field” problem that has been plaguing us. They did have point. Apart from a few sporadic instances of a Scholes, a Carrick, a Fletcher and at times a Gibson or an Ando scoring for us, there never were goals from the middle of the park.
During the early part of this millennium, Scholesy was the player who used to be the link between the Mid-field and the Front line. His neat work with Keano, Butt, Phil Neville and unparallel 60 yard diagonal balls to Beckham and Giggsy on the wings are stuff of legends. And who can forget all the screamers he scored which led to the “Scholes, Scholes, He scores goals” chants reverberating through Old Trafford. But in the 05/06 season, with the eye problem cropping up and with Keane’s departure mid-way through the season, Scholes had to retreat to a bit more restrained role as a central mid-fielder and has continued to do that ever since. It is no wonder that Scholesy has just scored 24 out of his 154 United Goals since that 05/06 season.
At Dortmund, Kagawa, along with Sahin and Götze formed the mid-field trio that handed Dortmund their first title in about 10 years. Kagawa used to play in the hole behind the striker and was hailed by most as the most important player in the Dortmund side that won the championship. Add to that, he was named the inaugural ‘Bundesliga Player of the Season’ in the 11/12 season given the fact that the Bundesliga contains the likes of Robben, Ribery, Neuer, Raul, Hummels and so on.
United’s style of play is different when compared to many of the English clubs. We don’t use the long ball, nor do we pass our opponents to death. At United, we have a ‘beautiful football with an attacking mindset’ philosophy in our game that has held us in good stead since the days of the Busby Babes. And in my opinion, Kagawa will be completely at home here. Kagawa’s game is perfect fit to the United way of doing things on the field. His vision, his one touch play, his off the ball movement, his awareness of his team-mates, his passing range are all the factors that, according to me, make him the missing ‘cog’.
The thought of having Rooney/van Persie/both playing with Kagawa behind them, Valencia and Nani on the wings or a Carrick/Cleverley/Scholes in the middle gives me goosebumps. The one touch play, the intricate passing, the movement of the players will be a treat to watch. The goals from midfield will start coming again as Kagawa has the nack of being in the right place at the right time in the box. And Kagawa’s vision, passing ability and 2 footedness also plays a huge part as he can find people on either sides with an astonishing amount of ease. He has shown glimpses of what he can do in the pre-season matches that just concluded.
Personally, I’d nominate Kagawa as the player to watch out for this season, not only in United’s case, but in the entire English league. One thing is for sure. United did not buy Kagawa just to sell t-shirts in the East. The Japanese is a very intelligent player and already proved in Bundesliga. Time alone will tell whether Kagawa can prove his worth in English football.
Published with permission from RU.