Kagawa eager to move to Premier League

Japanese star Shinji Kagawa said he wants to play in the Premier

League after meeting with Manchester United coach Alex

Ferguson.

The 23-year-old Kagawa has one year left on his contract with

two-time Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund but has declined the

club’s extension offer.

Kagawa returned to Japan on Wednesday after meeting with

Ferguson earlier this week.

”I want to go a team where it’ll be challenging for me,”

Kagawa said. ”It’d be nice if I end up playing in the Premier

League.”

Ferguson attended the German Cup final in Berlin on Saturday,

when Kagawa scored one goal and set up another to help Dortmund

rout Bayern Munich 5-2 in what may have been his last game for the

club.

”It was good to meet and actually talk to him,” Kagawa said of

his meeting with Ferguson. ”He had some nice things to say to

me.”

Kagawa, who is back in Japan for a pair of World Cup qualifiers

next month, has attracted interest from several clubs.

”I’ve been in touch with a number of clubs, and I can’t say

which one is the best for me yet,” Kagawa said.

The attacking midfielder scored 21 goals in 49 league games over

two seasons, playing a large role in Dortmund’s back-to-back

titles.

Japanese media reported Thursday that other Premier League clubs

interested in Kagawa include Arsenal, Chelsea and newly crowned

English champion Manchester City.

If he chooses to join United, the 19-time English champion,

Kagawa would be the first Japanese to wear the famous red

shirt.

Players from Japan, however, have yet to make a real impact in

the English Premier League. Junichi Inamoto failed to start a

league game during his time with Arsenal in the 2001-02 season,

Kazayuki Toda played four games for Tottenham Hotspur in 2003 and

teenage winger Ryo Miyaichi is on loan with Bolton Wanderers.

Hidetoshi Nakata, a star of Italy’s Serie A, had one season with

Bolton in 2005-06 before retiring from the game.