Shinji Kagawa could be set for a January exit from Manchester United having fallen out of favour under new manager David Moyes, with Borussia Dortmund emerging as the frontrunners in an attempt to bring the Japanese playmaker back to the Westfalenstadion.
Reports emerged in Portuguese newspaper A Bola that Kagawa could return as early as January, with Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp having already admitted his desire to bring the 24-year-old back to Germany.
However, the newspaper claims that the move would hinge on Serbian defender Neven Subotic moving in the opposite direction, with Moyes keen to bolster his defensive options in the wake of United’s worst start to the Premier League in 24 years.
Klopp has been outspoken in his criticism of the treatment of Kagawa since his £17m move in 2012, although the midfielder suffered an injury-hit first year at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson.
In an interview with Japanese television earlier this year, Kagawa admitted that he hopes his time with Dortmund is not over, and that he would be willing to return to the club should they ever want him.
Moyes has been reluctant to select Kagawa since he took over in the summer, leading to serious questions as to whether his future lies with the Premier League champions or elsewhere. The Japan international spent two seasons with Dortmund, becoming a key figure in the side that won back-to-back Bundesliga titles, before moving to England to link up with the Red Devils.
Subotic meanwhile has become a prominent figure in the Dortmund defence since joining the club in 2008 after moving to Germany from his adopted home of the United States of America. He has been influential in Dortmund’s rise in European football, culminating in their Champions League final appearance last season where the narrowly lost out to rivals Bayern Munich.
Having elected to play for his country of birth, Subotic has made 36 appearances for Serbia, giving him considerable experience at the tender age of 24, and he has earned recognition at club level for his consistent partnership with young German centre-back Mats Hummels.
It is said that with Rio Ferdinand approaching the latter stages of his career, Moyes wants to bring in Subotic to compete with another Serbian in Nemanja Vidic, and Northern Irishman Jonny Evans for a starting berth.