When Manchester United signed Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund last summer, great things were expected of the Japanese star.
The 24-year-old had won the Bundesliga Player of the Year for the 2011/12 season, and he was arguably the star player in a Dortmund side that is showing everyone how good it is in the Champions League this year.
Although his first season in English soccer has not been a particularly impressive one, he is just beginning to show signs that next season he will have adjusted to the Premier League, and will be a far more influential player at Old Trafford.
United’s 2-2 draw with West Ham on Wednesday was a tight game, but Kagawa had a big say in the result. He assisted both goals, for Antonio Valencia and Robin Van Persie, the first after a classy piece of skill and the second after his shot rebounded off both posts. It wasn’t an awesome performance from him by any means, but it was another sign that he is steadily improving.
Part of his lack of effectiveness this season must be put down to the fact that he hasn’t always played in his best position, which is in a central role behind the striker. That position has invariably been occupied by Wayne Rooney, which means Kagawa has been pushed out to the left, where his lack of pace has made him ineffective. Dropping Rooney deeper into midfield, with Kagawa behind Van Persie is certainly an option for Sir Alex Ferguson next season.
Many top foreign players often struggle in their first season in the Premier League. Just look at the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires, a trio who ended up becoming legends at Arsenal are disappointing debut campaigns.
The signs are that the Japanese international has struggled in a similar way, but his current form makes you believe you will see a very different Shinji Kagawa next season.
MILAN (AP) Sassuolo’s victory over Pescara has been reversed to a 3-0 loss.
Sassuolo won Sunday’s Serie A match 2-1 but the league now says it fielded an ineligible player.
The league says the paperwork for the signing of Antonino Ragusa, who played the final 25 minutes, had not been filed by noon the day before the match – as its rules demand.
Sassuolo says it followed the rules and will appeal.
The club was one of four teams to win both its opening matches, along with Genoa, Juventus and Sampdoria.
Jack Wilshere won’t be with Arsenal following Wednesday’s transfer deadline, however, where the Gunners midfielder lands is yet to be seen.
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According to Daily Mail, as many as 22 clubs are in the mix to acquire Wilshere on loan, including various Premier League sides.
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While Daily Mail suggests that Crystal Palace is among the leaders to bring in the 24-year-old center midfielder this season, Bournemouth and Watford are also said to be in the mix to sign the playmaker.
Manager Arsene Wenger reportedly won’t allow the Englishman to go to any of the top four sides in England and also hopes that Wilshere lands outside of the UK .
Wilshere is also being chased by foreign clubs including Serie A sides Juventus and Roma.
The Gunners have been active as the deadline heads down its final hours, with Lucas Perez of Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi both joining the club on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, young defender Calum Chambers has joined Middlesbrough on loan and Serge Gnarby is reportedly close to joining Werder Bremen after drawing significant interest from Bundesliga sides.
CHICAGO (AP) The U.S. women’s national team will host Switzerland for two matches this October in Minneapolis and Utah.
The matches for the defending World Cup champions are set for Oct. 19 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, and at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Oct. 23.
The U.S. team has played Switzerland just twice before, with the Americans winning both matches.
The United States is also facing Thailand on Sept. 15 in Columbus, Ohio, before playing the Netherlands in Atlanta on Sept. 18.
The team will be without goalkeeper Hope Solo, who was suspended from the team for six months following comments she made at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The United States was ousted by Sweden in the quarterfinals for the team’s earliest-ever exit at the Olympics.
Just incase you were unaware, there’s another Pogba. And he too could be playing in the Premier League very soon.
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While it was Paul Pogba that stole the spotlight when he returned to Manchester United for a world-record transfer fee, Florentin — his 26-year-old brother — is drawing interest from England’s top flight.
According to the Sun, David Moyes and Sunderland are launching an $8.5 million bid for the St Etienne defender as a potential replacement for Lamine Kone. The Black Cats still anticipate that Kone will exit the Stadium of Light this season after handing in a transfer request earlier this month.
Pogba has played with the Ligue 1 club since 2012 after joining from lower-division club Sedan. Additionally, the centerback has made 13 appearances for Guinea at the international level.