Shinji Kagawa

{Profile Updated 17/05/2012}

Date of Birth: - 17th March 1989

Nationality: - Japanese

Height: - 5ft 8inches

Position: - Attacking Midfielder

Club History: - Cerezo Osaka

- Borussia Dortmund

Linked With: - Liverpool

- Udinese

- Tottenham

- Villareal

- Valencia

- Manchester United.

Estimated Market Value: - between 12 and 15 million Pounds.

Club career:

Kagawa started playing football in his primary school years, and after joining a few small local clubs, Cerezo Osaka quickly noticed his talent and signed him at the age of 17. Kagawa was also the first player in Japan to sign a professional contract before graduating high school, except players promoted from youth teams of the J. League clubs.

In 2007, Kagawa gained a regular position but the club missed the promotion to the J. League Division 1. After this occurance, Kagawa was hit with much speculation regarding his career but he stayed loyal to the Division 2 club for the next few years.

Borussia Dortmund

In the summer of 2010, Kagawa transferred from Cerezo to Borussia Dortmund for 350,000 Euro's. The extremely cheap cost of the transfer was because of a release clause in Kagawa's contract with Cerezo, which allowed him to leave the club cheaply if he had an opportunity to play in Europe.

23rd August 2010 - Kagawa made his league debut in the German Bundesliga, and was also in the starting lineup for his new club Borussia Dortmund. After scoring his first two competitive goals for the club in the Europa League qualifying tie against Qarabag, he continued this form with his first goal in the Bundesliga match against Wolfsburg, which Dortmund won 2-0.

In the Revierderby against archrival Schalke 04 (which Dortmund won 3-1), Kagawa said pre-match that he would score two goals, he then went on to score twice, making him one of the fans' favorites and also increasing suspicion that he is indeed a psychic (I joke). Luckily he did score these 2 goals, and if he didn't he would have been brandad an absolute muppet by fans and wouldn't be a very popular figure, especially as it was against rivals.

Unfortunately, after a very impressive start to his Dortmund career to the first half of the 2010/2011 season, Kagawa missed the second half of the Bundesliga season because of an injury he picked up on international duty, but managed to score eight goals in 18 appearances nevertheless. His strong effort in the first half of the season helped his side finish as champions of the Bundesliga and he was even named in the Bundesliga Best XI, even though he only played half a season, which is an extremely impressive thing for any player to achieve.

Kagawa was back in time for the start of the 2011/2012 Bundesliga campaign and quickly found his way back into the starting line-up.

18th September 2011 - Kagawa scored his first goal of the new Bundesliga season coming in a disappointing 2-1 loss to Hannover 96, as his side gave up two goals in the last three minutes.

22nd October 2011 - Kagawa opened the scoring in the seventh minute as Dortmund crushed FC Koln 5-0 in front of over 80,000 home fans at Dortmund.

5th November 2011 - Kagawa scored again on, as Dortmund brushed aside Wolfsburg 5-1 and moved within two points of league leaders Bayern Munich. He also scored a late consolation against Arsenal in a 2-1 loss in the group stags of the Champions League just days later.

28th January 2012 - Kagawa scored twice in Dortmund's 3-1 win against Hoffenheim.

17th March 2012 - Kagawa scored the only goal of the game against Werder Bremen after a bullet header.

25th March 2012 - Kagawa scored two goals in Dortmund's 6-1 thrashing of Cologne, keeping his side 5 points ahead of Bayern in the title race.

30th March 2012 - Kagawa opened the scoring against Stuttgart in a phenomenal 4-4 draw, and earned the plaudits of the game as he put in a wonderful shift which caught many people's eyes.

International Career:

Kagawa played as a member of the Japan national under-20 football team in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup held in Canada. (Kagawa also played for the U17s, U18s U19s as well as the U20s.)

In 2008, Kagawa was also selected to play as a member of the Japanese team for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

24th May 2008 - Kagawa made his senior international debut in a friendly Kirin Cup match, and Japan won the match against Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) 1-0. However, Kagawa was not selected in the final 23 man squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

September 2010 - Kagawa scored the only goal of the game in Japan's 1-0 win over Paraguay in Yokohama.

Kagawa was included in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup by coach Alberto Zaccheroni. In the quarterfinals against Qatar, he scored two goals (the game ended 3-2, a win for Japan). In the semi-final against South Korea, Kagawa horrificly broke his metatarsal and missed the final where Japan beat Australia after extra-time.

Club Statistics:

Cerezo Osaka - 127 appearances, 57 goals and 30 assists.

Dortmund - 71 appearances, 29 goals, 15 assists.

Total: - 198 appearances, 86 goals and 45 assists.

International Statistics:

Japan - 29 appearances, 9 goals.

General Comments:

These comments won't be excessively long on this profile, as I feel Kagawa has been covered majorly by a lot of people the past year or so, and wouldn't want to seem repetitive.

Kagawa is a good player who has a great attacking mindset and seems to work his arse off for his team. However, he's very frustrating. This year I have seen him play some awesome football, but then completely reversed, some awful football. I'd say at the start of the season as I watched him in the CL, he really really impressed me. He's got quick feet, he's pacey and he just seems to knuckle down and try and start things. You can see the cogs going around in his head but he always seems to surprise the opponent and create something top class. However, I'd then watch him in the Bundesliga, and think, dear god he needs to be substituted.

Admittedly, Kagawa would be the first to say he had a rubbish start to this season, but in the final few months he really turned things around and started to play some truly great football for Dortmund. He finished off the season for Dortmund by banging in goals for fun, and he was great to watch, he really was. I think he's handled the stick he'd been getting from the Dortmund fans extremely well, and really turned things around.

I understand in recent times Kagawa rejected a contract extension with Dortmund as he deemed it unacceptable, and then followed this by saying in a live interview that he wouldn't be able to reject Manchester United if they came in for him. Well sure enough, they have come in for him and they are currently in talks over a move to Old Trafford, and it is looking more and more likely he will sign for them. I believe if this goes through, then Utd have once again got snatched a very very good player and for a relatively cheap price. I believe that Kagawa will actually fill a hole left in the Utd midfield, and finally give the midfield that well needed injection of pace.

Thanks all,