Mats Hummels is pleased with the ongoing speculation linking Shinji Kagawa with a return to Borussia Dortmund during the summer window.
The Japanese international established himself as one of the best playmakers in European football during his spell at the German club, which lasted from 2010 to 2012 and included 29 goals in 71 appearances in all competition. His form led to interest from Manchester United, who paid around £12million to take him to Old Trafford.
Whilst Kagawa has shown glimpses of his quality during his time in Manchester, including a hat-trick against Norwich City last season, it is not unreasonable to suggest he has struggled to find his best form in England. During his debut campaign Sir Alex Ferguson found it difficult to find a role for him in the team, a problem David Moyes had this term.
With Wayne Rooney and, from January this year, Juan Mata also coveting the number 10 role for the Reds, Kagawa has often been played out of position. He has started just 12 times in the Premier League this season, and his lack of opportunities has led to widespread speculation that Jurgen Klopp could offer him a return to Dortmund in the summer.
Last month The Sun reported that the Westfalenstadion outfit want to take the 25-year-old back on a loan deal for the duration of the 2014-15 campaign. But with two years remaining on his contract at Old Trafford, United would likely look to offload for a price should the player request a transfer. Either way, it is clear that Kagawa remains popular with his former team-mates, and Hummels is excited at the thought of his return.
“We would take him with open arms, of course,” he told Kicker. “Having an offensive line with [Marco] Reus, [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan and Kagawa would certainly be stylish. But I would not say anything about the other great players we have playing for us. The attacking midfield is probably the best part of our team without Shinji.”
Dortmund are second in the Bundesliga this season, yet that hardly begins to tell the full story. They are 19 points adrift of Bayern Munich, who retained their title earlier this month. Last term, the Allianz Arena side won the treble, beating Klopp’s side in the UEFA Champions League final, and are on course to repeat that feat.
Further to this, after losing one of their stars, Mario Gotze, to Bayern last year, their leading striker Robert Lewandowski will make the same move this summer. So it is clear Klopp will need to strengthen considerably ahead of next season, and the addition of Kagawa would be a much-needed coup, and unlikely to be the only target.