Shinji Kagawa 22 Midfielder Borussia Dortmund
Arriving at Dortmund in the summer of 2010 for the ridiculously low sum of €350,000, little was known or indeed expected of Shinji Kagawa by many of his new club’s supporters. To say they would be happy with his contribution to their club’s fortunes in his first season would be something of an understatement. Despite his first campaign in Germany being cut short by injury, Kagawa’s form was a major factor in Dortmund’s blistering start to the season that would see them crowned Bundesliga champions.
The relatively small transfer fee was no reflection on the player’s ability but actually a clause figure triggered by a European club’s concrete transfer interest. Even among Dortmund’s roster of young talent and despite the injury, Kagawa made a big impact on and off the pitch in Germany where he quickly became a favourite among fans. Now a fixture in Japan’s national team, Kagawa’s rise has not been truly meteoric but certainly quick enough to make people sit up and take notice.
This season Kagawa has made his way back into the first team and found his feet quickly, scoring regularly and proving last year’s pre-injury form was no flash in the pan. Intelligent and with the touch and vision to back it up, his biggest obstacle to future progression may be the fact he no longer remains a surprise package. With a certain Mr Götze seemingly bringing every scout in Europe to the Westfalenstadion, Kagawa has been attracting more than the odd transfer rumour himself. The future looks bright as long as the injuries stay away.
“Two excellent feet, blessed with expectation shattering guile and creativity that caught German football by surprise. Quick, intelligent and skillful; he is a footballer to savour. The single reason so many Bundesliga scouts were sent to January's Asian Cup” - Ryan Keaney (The Football Project)
“If there's been a better piece of business since Celtic bought Henrik Larsson, I haven't seen it” – John Dobson (Journalist)
C+ Would be a comfortable B but for the injury, keep it going.