Shinji Kagawa will seek urgent talks over his Manchester United future with David Moyes, The Sweeper has learned.
The Japan international is determined to stay and fight for his future at Old Trafford but is concerned about the lack of playing time he has been afforded by his new manager.
Kagawa, a €20 million signing from Borussia Dortmund last summer, struggled with injury last season but an upturn in form towards the end of the campaign prompted a belief he would feature more prominently under Moyes.
However, the 24-year-old’s first team involvement so far this season has been restricted to a seven-minute cameo as a substitute against Wigan in the Community Shield earlier this month.
Eyebrows were further raised when, with 12 minutes left of Monday’s stalemate against Chelsea, Moyes opted to bring on veteran Ryan Giggs and leave Kagawa on the bench.
That move prompted fans of Kagawa’s former club, who he helped inspire to the Bundesliga title in his final season in Germany, to launch a #freeShinji campaign on Twitter.
Moyes, however, has no intention of dispensing with Kagawa’s services and has adopted a 'handle with care' approach following the player’s involvement the Confederations Cup which cut short his pre-season programme.
Despite fears over Wayne Rooney’s fitness ahead of Sunday’s crunch Premier League clash against Liverpool at Anfield, however, Kagawa is again expected to start on the bench.
BARRY TO BAG SEVEN-FIGURE CITY PAY-OFF
Gareth Barry will pick up a stunning €1.8 million pay-off if he leaves Manchester City before Monday's transfer deadline, The Sweeper can reveal.
The 32-year-old has been informed that he can leave the Etihad Stadium this summer, with less than 12 months remaining on his current contract.
City are looking to recoup €2.4m of the €14m they paid for Barry in 2009, and will only deliver the severance package should he be sold on a permanent deal.
City are willing to contribute up to 40 per cent of that salary with view to a loan deal, with Everton leading the race for the former Aston Villa skipper.
Barry, who hasn't featured under Manuel Pellegrini this term, earns a bank-busting €140,000-a-week wage with the Premier League runners-up and admitted he was disappointed not to have been a new deal in July.
"I haven't heard anything about a new deal from the club, so it looks as though my contract will run out next summer and I'll have to take it from there," he told the Sunday Mirror.
"I've got to admit that, with Yaya Toure, Javi Garcia and now Fernandinho in the squad, it's going to be tough for anyone to nail down a position in central midfield. I'm a bit disappointed that there's been no offer, but I haven't got myself too down about it."
UNITED CHIEF WOODWARD GIVEN GHOULISH NEW NICKNAME
Woodward, who spends half his working week at the club's Mayfair office in London, has actually been at Old Trafford for a number of years.
But while his predecessor David Gill was a regular visitor to United's Carrington training headquarters, the man known to be close to the Glazers has barely been seen since taking over the role earlier this summer.
Woodward flew back from the club's recent tour of Australia to address 'urgent transfer business' as United failed to complete moves for Thiago Alcantara and later Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona.
But little has been seen of Woodward ever since and the players have dubbed him 'Ghost' - simply because they never see him!
- Paul Clennam