Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp says his “heart breaks” to see Shinji Kagawa playing a bit-part role at Manchester United.
The 24-year-old moved to Old Trafford from Dortmund last summer, but has been far from a first-team regular and even then has often had to play out of position.
The departure of Kagawa is part of a pattern for Dortmund coach Klopp, who this season has seen Mario Gotze agree to join Champions League final opponents Bayern Munich, with Robert Lewandowski looking likely to follow.
Dortmund’s wage bill is half that of Bayern’s and, despite stunning Real Madrid 7-0 on the way to the Champions League final, they are powerless to stop their star men from leaving this summer.
Klopp admits hearing that Gotze would leave was “like a heart attack” and told the Guardian: “Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United – on the left wing.
“My heart breaks. Really, I have tears in my eyes. Central midfield is Shinji’s best role. He’s an offensive midfielder with one of the best noses for goal I ever saw.
“But for most Japanese people it means more to play for Man United than Dortmund. We cried for 20 minutes, in each others’ arms, when he left.
“One year before that Nuri Sahin went because Real Madrid is the biggest club in the world. If players are patient enough we can develop the team into one of the biggest in the world.”