Shinji Kagawa is a stud of a player for Borussia Dortmund and the all-time leading Japanese scorer in the German Bundesliga, however his stint at Manchester United for 2 EPL seasons was way too short and therefore we will never be able to rate him against the world’s best. Kagawa is an attacking midfielder and made a big splash in his role of helping Man U win their last EPL championship in the 2012-2013 season, which coincided with Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season as coach. Kagawa played in 20 games and scored 6 goals (3 of those coming as part of a hat trick versus lowly Norwich City). Kagawa’s successful debut was not to be long-lived.
In the following year, he played in only 18 games, and registered 0 goals. These results coincide with what would become the storied club’s quick descent to finish in 7th place at the end of the 2013-2014 season. In addition to the sacking of the new manager David Moyes, Kagawa was transferred back to Dortmund for an undisclosed fee at the beginning of the next season without appearing in any EPL matches. Although Man U may just be recovering to top form on the pitch, the departure of Kagawa has little to do with the deep dark 3 year slide that followed his departure.
Kagawa had great potential and was fortunate to join the EPL as part of an elite team with incredible talent surrounding him. He very well could have been on his way to being labeled as the greatest Asian player ever in the EPL and consequently change the world’s view of Asian soccer talent, much like Li Na did for China in tennis. Unfortunately we will have to rate him against players in a bottom-heavy German soccer league that will always force us to discount his results.