Atletico manager Diego Simeone had been in the hunt for Mata himself, but has conceded that Manchester United have won the transfer battle. The Spaniard’s arrival at Old Trafford will limit opportunities even more for Kagawa and a move to Madrid will be ideal for all parties.
Kagawa came to Old Trafford with a fabulous reputation from Borussia Dortmund, but he has endured a very stop-start two years in Manchester. In March 2013 he scored a hat-trick against Norwich City but that has been the only highlight. He has made only 29 appearances for the Red Devils, many of those coming from the substitute’s bench.
Simeone has been looking to strengthen his midfield options as Atletico, co-leaders with Barcelona at the top of La Liga, prepare for a vital run in. He is also worried about bids coming in for winger Koke and strike sensation Diego Costa. Kagawa can also play further forward, and this has made him even more attractive to the Atletico boss.
A deal will be completed before the transfer window shuts. A fee of around €15M will see the Japanese international playing at the Vicente Calderon. It’s an ideal solution – Manchester United will pay off a slice of the Mata fee and Kagawa will get the guarantee of Champion’s League football next season.