When Japanese international Shinji Kagawa first signed for Borussia Dortmund in 2010, he was seen as one of the most interesting signings of the summer. The youngster had arrived directly from Japan, and promptly went about securing himself in the pantheon of Borussia Dortmund legends. Key performances domestically and in Europe propelled the club to the 2010-11 Bundesliga and 2011-12 Bundesliga and DFB Pokal tournaments, before leaving for Manchester United.
A reunion took place shortly after, and the Japan star has hung around for a few years since. However, sporadic appearances and, this season, almost no involvement at all in the first-team scene meant that, for Kagawa and for BVB, it was time to say goodbye. Signing a loan deal with Turkish giants Besiktas, the end of the Kagawa era at BVB has come.
Lucien Favre has found little use for the midfielder this year, meaning that for the most part his exit felt like a formality. At 29, it was time to try and find more regular first-team football outside of Germany. Links to relegation threatened Hannover existed until late in the day on Thursday, but it was a move to Turkey that had eventually took place.
While the ending of the Kagawa story in Dortmund might not be quite as happy as some would have liked, it’s interesting to see Dortmund shortening their squad as they approach the busiest part of the season: could they come to regret moving on one so talented?