Borussia Dortmund followers have kicked off a sporting viral with a tongue-in-cheek campaign demanding that Manchester United ‘free’ Shinji Kagawa.
The Japanese attacking midfielder joined United from the Bundesliga side in the summer of 2012, but has started his second campaign for the Red Devils as a benchwarmer, something the Dortmund fans – who still adore Kagawa for his spell at Signal-Iduna Park – fear will remain the case under David Moyes all season.
The campaign is growing on Twitter via the hashtag #freeshinji, has its own symbol (see above) and one supporter even recorded a irritatingly-catchy tune for the cause:
Unfortunately for the Dortmund faithful, their cavalier attempt to inspire a Kagawa return will not yield the result they want, as first team coach Jurgen Klopp himself admitted.
Klopp confirmed that the club enquired about bringing Kagawa back following the departure of Mario Goetze to rivals Bayern Munich, but the move hit an immediate brick wall:
“[Coming back] is not an option for him this year and not an option for us,” Klopp said. “This was made obvious quite quickly.
“Shinji wants to prove himself at Man United this season. I didn't think the response would be any different but better safe than sorry.”
— Bundesliga Football (@BLFUK) August 27, 2013
The #freeshinji thing isn't half talking off with it trending in Germany. I'm worried someone will literally kidnap him on the way to ASDA.
— Ross Dunbar (@rossdunbar93) August 27, 2013