Shinji Kagawa: Marketing pawn or Midfield sensation?
Posted on July 18, 2012 by Andrew Younger
The signing of Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund for £12 million looked to be a shrewd acquisition at the time. But when coupled with the subsequent departure of fellow Asian star Park Ji-Sung to QPR, it has been suggested that the Japanese international has been bought to sell shirts rather than score goals.
So will United’s latest signing be key to wrestling the title back off their Manchester rivals, or is he simply a tool used to maintain their standing in Asia?
All you have to do to realise how good Kagawa is look at the stats. In his two seasons in Germany he has been a driving force for Dortmund, winning the Bundesliga title twice while also lifting the German Cup last season. On a personal note, Kagawa has firmly established himself as one of the rising talents in European football. Netting 17 goals in all competitions and weighing in with 13 assists, he became the league’s most efficient midfielder, ahead of Bayern Munich stars Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery.
When compared to United’s major signing of last summer, Ashley Young, it seems as though Kagawa again comes out on top. Costing £5 million less than Young and two years his junior, Kagawa’s price tag can not be questioned. Then throw into the mix that Kagawa has scored more goals in less games at club level than Young and it is quite hard to see why questions are being raised over this deal.
However, in the seven years in which Park represented United, the clubs brand has sky rocketed in Asia and with him now gone, it is vital that they should still have a player from that region representing them.
Kagawa will no doubt be the star attraction as the club continue to build their brand name on their pre-season tour when they visit China. You will find millions of United fans in that part of the world, and to not have an Asian player in their ranks could dent their popularity. It’s for this sort of reason why replacing Park was essential to United from a marketing point of view as much as a playing one.
However, this is Manchester United and Kagawa can not just be any player if he is to represent them. They have simply got ahead of the game with his capture with clubs like Arsenal, who have Asian stars such as Ryo Miyaichi and Park Chu-Young on their books, still searching for the blend of talent and marketing potential to help make a splash in the Far-East market.
There is no doubt that Shinji Kagawa can adapt to both Manchester United and the Premier League and he has the potential to be a key figure in their bid to regain the Premier League title. However, nobody can say this deal was based on pure footballing factors because the finances surrounding modern day football simply do not allow it. Luckily for the Red Devils, they seem to have found themselves in a win-win position with the capture of this Asian star.
Maybe Kagawa can help you win credits on the Oddslife Predictor this season…?