Shinji Kagawa can boost Man United’s performances on and off the pitch
Sharethematch.com examines why Japan's Shinji Kagawa can serve two purposes at Manchester United
Kagawa: United’s brand new Park
A trip to Asia will soon sort out the £12m gap after the signing of Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund – and it will also plug the hole caused by the release of Park Ji-Sung to Queens Park Rangers.
Kagawa may not be the quick-remedy solution sought after following United’s surrendering of the Premier League title to their city rivals, but it was a tasty deal that proves the club assesses both on-field and off-field performances with equal measure.
United fly out to China later this month for a series of pre-season matches. Expect hundreds of Asian supporters to flood the stadiums as money is siphoned into the vaults at Old Trafford.
“If a new signing ever wanted to see the scale of the club, in all its might, then a trip to Asia is perfect,” said Gary Neville, fresh from his England Euro 2012 coaching duties.
Kagawa joins United at a similar age to Park, who, in 2007, became the first Asian to win the Premier League two years after transferring from PSV Eindhoven and a year later became the first man from the Far East to also appear in a Champions League final.
Park’s United career proved to be a storybook one, but 23-year-old Kagawa has already insisted he will not be fazed by the pressure of honouring his predecessor. He has already amassed 33 caps for his country and has complemented his rise in stock with 11 goals.
It is important to note that Park was not sent packing down to QPR before Kagawa had signed on the dotted line – such is the important of imports from Asia. That simply underscored the influence of shirt sales over transfer policy.
But Kagawa will be all too aware of another type of Park; the stalling Arsenal version. Chu-Young Park, like Ji-Sung, departed the Eredivisie to sign for Arsenal in the summer of 2011 but has struggled so far with the physical intensity of the Premier League.
But optimism floats around Old Trafford. New signings appear on the way, a well below-par season interposed with some awful bouts of form saw them on level points with the champions and Kagawa can reignite the stagnant midfield.
PSG sound warning to Europe’s elite
Paris Saint-Germain are set to be one of the biggest threats in this year’s Champions League, despite Petr Cech’s belief that Chelsea could make history by becoming the first team to defend the title.
After underdogs Montpellier secured the Ligue 1 title in fairy tale style, PSG are waving the chequebook in an effort to bolster their ranks. And so far, the tactic appears to be working.
Midfielder Ezequiel Lavezzi has made the move from Napoli, Thiago Silva confirmed he was moving from Milan to PSG last week, and striker Zlatan Ibrahimović has followed close on his heels.
Earlier this month, before the transfers had taken place, Silva’s agent said: “PSG will be the biggest team in Europe in two or three years, even if they don’t sign Thiago Silva and Ibra.”
His prediction may become reality, with debt-riddled sides such as Milan under pressure to cash in on their top players under new Financial Fair Play regulations, which stipulate that clubs must not spend more than they earn.
PSG in the meantime, appear to be going from strength to strength.
With a squad like theirs they will be aiming high. They will not be content with the Ligue 1 title this time – they will be looking to become champions of Europe.