Wednesday, June 22, 2011

INFTH Top 100: Numbers 62 and 61

62. Shinji Kagawa- For the first half of the season, Kagawa was the best player in German football, an exciting attacking midfielder, who absolutely ripped apart Dortmund's Bundesliga competition. Though Kagawa's season was cut short by a horrific injury, he still did register eight goals in eighteen appearances which is quite the return for a midfield player.

It was the international stage which produced both Kagawa's best and worst moments of 2010/11, he scored twice in the quarter final to knock out hosts Qatar, but then broke his metatarsal in the next game against South Korea. Japan went on to win the Asian Cup though, and there is no doubt Kagawa was a big part of that success despite his injury.

Following the conclusion of the Bundesliga season, Kagawa has been heavily linked to a move away from Borrusia Dortumund, the player was rumored to be open to a move to Manchester United. Since then, Dortmund have opened talks with the Japanese international, and I would be surprised if one of the major European clubs were willing to sign a player who has not yet proved that he is still just as good post injury.

61. Peter Odemwingie- There is no doubt about it, Peter Odemwingie was one of the best stories of the 2010/11 Premier League season. Moving to West Brom from Russian football, Odemwingie was an instant hit, scoring on his debut against Sunderland. Odemwingie went on to score another fourteen goals, including strikes against Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

Over the course of 2011, Odemwingie consistently proved that he was one of the best finishers in English football; his delicate clipped finish against Chelsea at the Hawthornes was indicative of what he had produced all year long.

At the end of the season, Odemwingie was voted the Premier League's top African performer, pipping stars like Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure to the honor.

Earlier this week, West Brom made it clear that Odemwingie is not for sale at any price, but that hasn't deterred the rumor spinning English newspapers, who have linked him to clubs like Tottenham and AC Milan. Personally, I would like to see the Nigerian remain at West Brom for at least another season, it is really refreshing to to see players stay loyal to their club, and Odemwingie strikes me as the sort of character who would appreciate the role that West Brom have played in the advancement of his career.

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