LONDON – Shinji Kagawa admitted Sunday he thought long and hard before leaving Manchester United to rejoin Borussia Dortmund.
“It was a very difficult decision for me,” Kagawa said, after signing a four-year deal to June 2018 with the eight-time Bundesliga champions a day before the transfer deadline.
“Dortmund’s style of football really suits me. I made the decision because I felt strongly about wanting to help this team achieve things again.”
The fee for the full transfer has been reported to be €8 million ($10.5 million).
Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc said the plan to re-sign the 25-year-old World Cup midfielder started unfolding only in the last several days.
“The possibility of signing Shinji Kagawa only arose for the first time in the last few days,” Zorc said. “Naturally we decided to add his enormous quality to our squad once again.”
Kagawa will be eligible to play for Jurgen Klopp’s side after the international break, from Sept. 13 at home to Freiburg.
During his previous spell at the club from 2010 to 2012, the former Cerezo Osaka man was instrumental in Dortmund winning consecutive league titles, scoring 21 goals in 49 appearances despite missing half a season with a broken metatarsal.
But his time at Old Trafford from 2012 was largely a struggle, especially after Alex Ferguson retired following Kagawa’s first season with United, when he became the first Japanese to win the Premier League.
Kagawa fell out of favor with Ferguson’s successor, David Moyes, last season, when he didn’t score a single goal, and was barely acknowledged by the manager for this season, Louis van Gaal.
Kagawa departs Manchester with six goals in 38 Premier League matches. He will not play in Japan’s home friendlies against Uruguay and Venezuela on Sept. 5 and 9, respectively, after suffering a concussion last week in his only game for van Gaal.
“When I left the club, I said in an interview that my chapter with Borussia Dortmund was not over,” Kagawa said. “I just wanted to realize my dream of playing in the Premier League.
“Right now, I’m over the moon to be back with this fantastic club and our special fans. Dortmund is like family to me, and I’m proud that they had not forgotten about me and welcomed me back.”
Liverpool blasts Spurs
London — Liverpool had the look of Premier League title challengers again during an electrifying win at Tottenham on Sunday, while Arsenal’s scoring struggles were once more exposed in a draw at Leicester.
Having opened the campaign with a slender win over Crystal Palace and then scrambling a draw at Everton, Arsenal was held 1-1 by a Leicester side playing in the top flight after a decade away.
Liverpool, though, recovered from its setback at Manchester City at the start of the week with a 3-0 win at White Hart Lane which ended Tottenham’s perfect start to the season.
Aside from Arsenal, only three teams remain unbeaten. Chelsea and Swansea maintained their 100 percent starts on Saturday, while Aston Villa beat Hull 2-1 on Sunday to make it two wins out of three along with a draw.
Arsenal has shown in previous seasons it can recover from slow starts to still finish in the four Champions League places, but a push for the title is now expected by the London club’s fans.
That could require a late addition to the striking options before the transfer window closes on Monday night until 2015.
“We are very active,” Wenger said of Arsenal’s transfer activity. “We are disappointed not to get to get the three points. Let’s not put that down to only missing a striker.”
But with Yaya Sanogo leading the strike force in place of Olivier Giroud, who is sidelined until at least late December, Arsenal lacked cutting edge up front.