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Rooney departure could unleash Kagawa


For the second time in the space of three years, Manchester United striker, Wayne Rooney has made the headlines with news reports indicating the 27 year old favours a move away from Old Trafford. New manager David Moyes is expected to hold talks with the England striker to convince him to commit his future to the red devils. Many United faithful, both players and fans alike, are pushing for a Rooney stay, but a few think otherwise. The question remains as to whether or not United should cash in on their prized asset.

One important dynamic with regards to this Rooney saga is how it affects Shinji Kagawa. The Asian international would be the first to admit he wasn’t at his scintillating best in his debut season, and would be looking forward to stamping his authority on the side more than anything next season. Kagawa’s below-par season has been attributed to persistent injuries, as well as being played out of position. He was usually deployed on the left-hand side of midfield with Rooney playing the number 10 role, behind Robin Van Persie.

Dortmund manager, Jurgen Klopp has recently been quoted as saying his “heart breaks” to see Kagawa being played out of position at United. Those who followed Kagawa at Dortmund would remember how much of a revelation he was, playing behind Polish striker Robert Lewandowski. There’s no disputing the fact that Kagawa’s favoured position is in the hole, where he serves as the link between the striker and the midfield. And for him to excel at United in this role there may be only one solution: a Wayne Rooney departure.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge fan of Wayne Rooney. He is the ‘heart and soul’ of Manchester United, as we’ve heard time and time again; but his body language in recent times suggests otherwise. The stats may be in his favour, but many a United fan has not found Rooney’s recent performances entirely encouraging. He developed a lacklustre approach which resulted in him being dropped as well as substituted in a number of games. One thing that is evidently clear though, is how difficult it is to accommodate Kagawa and Rooney in the same side. Herein lies Moyes’ headache.

Kagawa is more suited to the number 10 role than Wayne Rooney is, and accommodating both of them brings a lot of complications formation-wise. Does Moyes continue to play Rooney in the hole with Kagawa on the left wing? Does he play Rooney on the left wing and play Shinji in his favoured position? Does he play Rooney upfront (which he recently confessed he prefers) alongside Van Persie, with Kagawa behind them, therefore sacrificing wing play in the process? Whatever decision is taken is going to be a huge sacrifice in terms of how the team shapes up. Similarities can be drawn with the Ozil and Kaka situation at Real Madrid, with the former preferred as the man behind the striker. Moyes needs to find the best way to juggle formations to suit Kagawa and Rooney (or at least one of them).

It will be interesting to see how Moyes addresses this problem. He will be returning from holidays later this week and will work alongside incoming Chief Executive Ed Woodward regarding transfers. They will look to sort out the Rooney situation as quickly as possible, to ensure that it doesn’t drag along the entire summer. IF Rooney really does want out of Old Trafford, he shouldn’t be held back. He has been a good servant of the club, but if he feels his time at the club is up, United had best cash in. Kagawa will flourish on the backbone of a solid central midfield, which can be achieved with funds from a possible Rooney sale.  Shinji Kagawa is the future of Manchester United.


Kagawa could flourish in Rooney absence

Kelvin Wellington