Manchester United have announced they have reached an agreement with Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund for the transfer of Shinji Kagawa.
The deal is now subject to the player passing a medical and obtaining a UK work permit and is expected to be finalised by the end of June.
The move ends weeks of speculation and softens the blow of losing out to Chelsea in the race to sign Eden Hazard, with the Belgian completing his move to Stamford Bridge earlier in the week. Reports suggest United will pay £17m to snap up the services of the Japanese playmaker and kick-starts Sir Alex Ferguson’s summer spending spree as he plots to wrestle the title back from neighbours City.
Kagawa, who had one year left on his Dortmund contract, will arrive on the back of an outstanding season for Jurgen Klopp’s double winners. Playing in the hole behind a lone forward in a 4-2-3-1 system, he produced 13 goals and eight assists in just 31 league appearances, with his set-piece ability a firm part of his repertoire.
Much debate is already underway as to exactly where he will fit into United’s system. While some reports suggest he has discussed a central role with Ferguson, Kagawa’s versatility means he can also play on the flanks – indeed, he tends to be fielded on the left for his national side. The knock-on effect on the likes of Ashley Young, Nani and Antonio Valencia out wide could be intriguing, then, though a role in the hole would see Wayne Rooney as the furthest forward and perhaps place question marks against the game time of Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez. One thing’s for sure, though; United have snapped up a top-class talent who, at the age of 23, clearly has the best years of his career ahead of him at Old Trafford.