Tuesday 16 January 2018

‘I can handle the pressure of being first Japanese player at Manchester United’: Shinji Kagawa

Manchester United's new signing Shinji Kagawa of Japan holds up a team shirt with manager Alex Ferguson. Photo: Reuters
Manchester United's new signing Shinji Kagawa of Japan holds up a team shirt with manager Alex Ferguson. Photo: Reuters

SHINJI Kagama attended his first United media event at Old Trafford yesterday when it quickly became obvious what an attraction he is going to be.

The amount of Japanese media in attendance dwarfed the number of Korean counterparts who used to follow Park Ji-sung around during his time at Old Trafford.



Those numbers will swell still further once the new Premier League campaign starts in August.



But the £17 million midfielder does not view it as a problem.



"I definitely feel the attention of the media globally now I am a member of a great squad like Manchester United," said Kagawa, who has pledged to learn the language quickly.



"Everything here at the club shows me I have come somewhere really big.



"But I think I can take the pressure. I am pretty confident I can adapt to the style of the Premier League."



Kagawa will be the star attraction on the early part of United's pre-season tour, which begins on Monday with a flight to Durban for the first of two games in South Africa.



Ferguson is keen to make at least one further addition, having also completed the signing of 18-year-old Nick Powell from Crewe.



"When the European Championships or the World Cup is on, there is always a delay in the transfer industry," said Ferguson.



"Now all that is over we are still trying to get maybe one player in."



Leighton Baines was the name that immediately sprang to mind given how heavily the Everton defender has been linked with United this summer.



However, the club's recent transfer history does not indicate the amount they would have to pay for Baines would be invested in a second-choice left-back, which would place a question mark over the future of Patrice Evra.



Ferguson refused the opportunity to reveal even which position he was looking at, just as a United official quickly moved on from potential questioning over that IPO, which is intended for launch in the United States in the coming weeks.



It was that move which contained the phrase "our indebtedness could adversely affect our health and competitive position", which was the first official admission that the massive debt burden the Glazer family have lodged against United could be a problem.



That debt currently stands at £423m, although no explanation was ever offered as to how the Glazers managed to pay off £249m of high-interest payment-in-kind notes in 2010.



It means no-one outside the club can be entirely sure whether Ferguson would have to sell more players before further purchases can be sanctioned.



Despite this, United are still expected to be a major Premier League force this term, with Ferguson's hunger doubtless fuelled by the agonising manner in which his side lost their title to Manchester City last season.



"Red wine helps," was Ferguson's reaction to being asked how he felt about the two goals City scored in stoppage-time to end a 44-year wait for the title.

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