£12m Kagawa can be United's rising son
Manchester United began the long-overdue revamping of their midfield yesterday by agreeing to sign Japanese international Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund, pending a medical and work permits, for £12m.
United struggled in midfield last season, with Tom Cleverley limited by injuries. Paul Scholes had to be brought back from retirement in January.
Kagawa is not the next Roy Keane but he will be a vital imaginative presence in United's midfield. He played two seasons at Dortmund -- they won the Bundesliga in each -- deployed behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1 system. In the league last year, Kagawa scored 13 goals and had eight assists in 29 starts. Over his two seasons, he scored 21 goals in just 46 Bundesliga starts.
That kind of incision is an area United have lacked compared to Manchester City, who have David Silva and Samir Nasri.
"He's fantastic, he's great on the ball," said Eurosport's Bundesliga commentator Ian Holyman. "He plays nice, neat little passes on the edge of the box to break teams down.
"He's really a fantastic player to have in that sort of area -- he can work through the tightest of defences."
Meanwhile, Joe Cole has been told to report to Liverpool for pre-season training, prompting Lille to abandon their efforts to sign him on a permanent deal.
Lille coach Rudi Garcia said his club had been told that the new Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, wanted to keep the 30-year-old.
Cole has expressed his desire for a fresh start on Merseyside, where he floundered under Roy Hodgson and then found himself surplus to Kenny Dalglish's requirements.
Rodgers has made it clear every member of the squad will be given a chance to impress in pre-season.
Cole will still need to prove himself to Rodgers to be certain of remaining beyond the short term, particularly given his £90,000-a-week salary, but the duo have a good relationship from their time together at Chelsea. (© Independent News Service)