Jose Mourinho has revealed he tried to sign Shinji Kagawa for Real Madrid in 2012 but the player did not want to be Mesut Ozil’s understudy at the Bernabeu.
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Kagawa, who had just won back-to-back Bundesliga titles at Borussia Dortmund, instead opted for a move to Manchester United, where he had hoped for more first-team football in his preferred No. 10 role.
Mourinho, explaining the reason the move did not come to fruition, told Japanese publication Shukan Bunshun: “It was not being able to always play at Real Madrid. My first choice at the time was Mesut Ozil. I told him honestly without hiding it.”
United themselves were offered Ozil this summer before he went to Arsenal, with manager David Moyes saying he decided against it as he already had Kagawa and Wayne Rooney available in his position.
However, Kagawa, who has scored six goals in 35 games for United, has struggled to get regular first-team football as a No. 10 at Old Trafford, with Rooney generally preferred in that role and the Japan international often used on the left wing.
Kagawa has been linked with a return to Dortmund after Borussia manager Juergen Klopp had a bid to re-sign him rejected at the end of last season.