Soccer

Shinji Kagawa leaves Dortmund for Besiktas loan

AP, AFP-JIJI, Kyodo

Borussia Dortmund’s Japan international Shinji Kagawa has turned down German first-division rival Hannover and instead joined Turkish side Besiktas on loan.

Dortmund says Kagawa requested the move. The 29-year-old midfielder had only made two league appearances this season and did not feature prominently in coach Lucien Favre’s plans.

“Shinji is not only an outstanding football player, but also a great friend of the club. We couldn’t refuse his request,” said Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc.

Kagawa was a key player in Dortmund’s Bundesliga title wins in 2011 and 2012 following his move from Cerezo Osaka in 2010. He helped Dortmund achieve a domestic double in 2012, scoring the first goal in the side’s 5-2 win over Bayern Munich in the German Cup final.

Kagawa, who scored 60 goals and set up 55 more in 216 appearances for Dortmund, joined Manchester United in 2012 before returning in 2014, when he said the club was “like a family.”

But his lack of opportunities at Dortmund this season prompted him to look elsewhere.

“We have a lot of understanding for Shinji’s situation and for his desire for more playing time at another club,” Zorc said. “Shinji sees this opportunity in Istanbul and we’re happy to grant his wish.”

Kagawa, who passed a medical examination after arriving in Istanbul earlier on Thursday to complete the deal, had reportedly been a target of struggling French club Monaco.

Besiktas in a statement said Kagawa would be “a part of its team on loan until the end of the season.”

Turkish newspaper Hurriyet’s online edition reported that Besiktas had agreed to a €1.6 million ($1.8 million) transfer fee and an option for a full transfer, but the club made no reference to this in its short statement.