West Brom Opinion: Shinji Kagawa would be a massive coup for the Baggies
According to the Birmingham Mail, Championship promotion hopefuls West Brom are interested in signing Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund, with reports claiming that new manager Slaven Bilic is keen to bring the 30-year-old to the Hawthorns this summer.
Kagawa, who has only one year left to run on his current contract at Dortmund, spent the second half of the previous campaign on loan at Besiktas in the Turkish Super Lig after struggling for regular minutes under Lucien Favre.
However, the 30-year-old rediscovered his mojo on his loan spell in Turkey and accumulated 4 goals and 2 assists in 14 league outings, with his stellar run of form prompting the Super Lig heavyweights to pursue a permanent deal for him.
Birmingham Mail understands that Besiktas continue to be front runners in the race to sign Kagawa from Dortmund this summer, although West Brom have emerged as surprise contenders to rival the Turkish giants in their pursuit of the two-time Bundesliga winner.
The same report claims that Kagawa is not particularly keen on returning to English soil if it means playing in the Championship, meaning that Baggies manager Slaven Bilic has a big task on his hands to try and convince the 30-year-old to move to the Hawthorns this summer.
Kagawa, who has 31 goals in 97 senior international appearances for Japan, is very much a household name in European football, having largely played for Borussia Dortmund over the course of his illustrious and distinguished footballing career.
The 30-year-old has amassed 60 goals and 55 assists in 216 appearances for Dortmund in all competitions till date, winning Bundesliga twice in the process.
Kagawa became the first Japanese player to play for Man United when he made his move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2012.
Although the playmaker struggled to acclimatise to the demands of English football at that time and registered only 6 goals and 10 assists in 57 appearances over the course of two campaigns, Kagawa won the Premier League with the Red Devils in his debut season.
He returned to Dortmund in 2014 and continued his merry way in the Bundesliga.
To put things into perspective, Shinji Kagawa has stamped his authority in the Bundesliga for almost a decade with his creativity and vision and it is not difficult to see that West Brom would bag a massive coup if they somehow manage to convince him to move to the Midlands this summer.
West Brom’s pursuit of promotion at the first time of asking ended in failure, as the Baggies lost out to rivals Aston Villa in the semi-finals of the playoffs last season.
However, they will once again be expected to reignite their surge for automatic promotion under Bilic next term, despite several key players like Craig Dawson, James Morrison, Gareth Barry, Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle heading for the exit door.
The Baggies are yet to flex their muscles to a great extent in the transfer window this summer, with Bilic only bringing in Croatian midfielder Filip Krovinovic on loan from Benfica.
They are yet to find replacements for some star players in key positions but the acquisition of someone like Kagawa would be a massive coup, nevertheless.
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Realistically speaking, it is hard to see a player of Kagawa’s calibre and stature in European football drop down to play for West Brom in the Championship. However, it would be a massive statement of intent if the Baggies manage to get this one over the line.