Manchester United confirmed the transfer of Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa from German champions Borussia Dortmund today – for an initial £12million.
The 23-year-old playmaker must secure a work permit and pass a medical test but both clubs agreed a deal which is expected to be complete by the end of June.
United, who announced an Asian fan base of 325million last week, said Kagawa was not signed to boost profits in the global commercial market.
Richard Arnold, the Reds’ commercial director, said: "Our popularity in certain countries or regions may depend, at least in part, on fielding certain players from those countries or regions.
"We don't sign players to sell shirts. We are reliant on 25 players and they are all massive stars. We have 25 George Clooneys.
"When you look at the success we've seen in [Asia], it isn't down to any one player or person.
"For Manchester United it's more than any one player. It was more than George Best, it was more than Bryan Robson, it was more than David Beckham, it was more than Cantona, than Park."
The total cost of the transfer could rise to £17million – depending on success and appearances.
Kagawa, who is currently on international duty, scored 13 goals in 31 Bundesliga games and helped Dortmund win a league and cup double last season.
He joined the German titleholders from J-League side Cerezo Osaka for 350,000 euros in 2010 and went on to make 56 appearances, scoring 24 goals.