For the past few seasons, the name Shinji Kagawa has not induced much terror in the hearts of Premier League clubs.
Try as they might, Manchester United were not able to extract the form from the 25-year-old that he had displayed at Borussia Dortmund, eventually letting him return to Germany this summer.
Inadvertently, that decision could immediately lead to Kagawa’s best performance against an English side, as Arsenal head to Dortmund in the first match of their Champions League group.
The hosts are 19/20 to win at Westfalenstadion, with the Gunners priced at 5/2 and the draw 27/10.
The Japanese has not been prolific in the Champions League even during his time at Dortmund, but his one strike in the competition did come against Arsenal in 2011.
Although that goal was scored at the Emirates rather than in Germany, Kagawa’s emotional return to der BVB at the weekend was marked by a goal as Dortmund beat Freiburg 3-1, and he already looks back on top form.
In his final season at Dortmund before moving to Manchester, Kagawa notched 17 goals and 14 assists in 43 matches in all competitions. At his best, he is a frighteningly talented player.
The playmaker is 7/5 to score at any time against the Gunners, and 5/1 to bag the opener.
Arsenal must be aware that Kagawa at Dortmund is a very different proposition to the peripheral, flaky figure he was in England, and there is another reason they will be cursing the timing of his return to Germany,
With Marco Reus injured on international duty recently, Dortmund’s attack suddenly looked far less dangerous, but Kagawa has stepped seamlessly into the gap left by the brilliant German.
The 25-year-old might not be quite at Reus’ level, even under Jurgen Klopp, but die Schwarzgelben will be delighted to have him back to help terrorise the Gunners’ backline.