Shinji Kagawa has revealed that he turned down Manchester United’s iconic No 7 shirt as he wants to prove himself at Old Trafford before taking such an honour.
The Japan star flew into Manchester on Friday to tie up the loose ends on his £17million transfer from Borussia Dortmund, passing his medical and agreeing a four-year contract with the Red Devils.
He has also now obtained a UK work permit. But the 23-year-old midfielder admitted he wasn’t yet ready to take up the club’s offer of the No 7 shirt, made famous by the likes of George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Instead, Kagawa has asked for a shirt with ‘personal meaning’. He wore the No 23 shirt with Dortmund. Michael Owen wore the No 7 shirt for United last season but the former England striker has now been released.
‘I’ve just joined the team and haven’t accomplished anything yet,’ said Kagawa. ‘I want to make a name for myself [at United] on my own terms.’
Kagawa also revealed that his visit to Old Trafford to sign his contract has already sparked dreams of his first goal for United at the world-renowned stadium.
‘When I was at [Old Trafford], I thought about how incredible it would be if I could score there,’ Kagawa added.
Sir Alex Ferguson revealed his delight at securing such an exciting young talent.
‘Shinji is an exciting young midfielder with great skill, vision and a good eye for goal,’ said Ferguson. ‘I am delighted he has chosen to come to United. I believe he will make an impact upon the team very quickly as he is suited to United’s style of play. We are all looking forward to working with him.’
Kagawa said: ‘This is a challenge I am really looking forward to. The Premier League is the best league in the world and Manchester United is such a massive club.
‘This is a really exciting time for me and I can’t wait to meet the team and start playing.’