While Shinji Kagawa is the prince of Japanese football at this time he is not currently considered the king as that mantle goes to a man who will be on everybody’s shopping lists either in January or next summer. CSKA Moscow’s Keisuke Honda is currently the first choice in the midfield playmaker role and his contract is running to its end, with the belief in Russia that an amicable split is already agreed between the 26-year-old and club officials.
Why this should prick the ears of Premier League clubs is due to the former VVV Venlo playmaker’s prodigious talent, the fact he is keeping Kagawa out of the Japanese first team should be evidence of that. He is also physically built for the Premier League with his deceptive build on a similar par to Cristiano Ronaldo, of which he shares a just as remarkably similar free-kick technique with often superb results.
He shone at the 2010 World Cup for the Samurai Blue scoring a goal apiece against Cameroon and Denmark but he had already agreed a move to Russia before the South African showpiece had gotten under way so his talents had already been secured. Now with his deal dwindling he has made a move to a big European club his main target for the immediate future.
A deal with Lazio fell through at the start of this year due to financial constraints at the Italian side and it may seem that now is the perfect time for an English club to move in for his signature.
Not only of course does his talent make him a good buy but his marketability on the ever increasing Asian market is always a huge asset for a club, especially if they can tie him down on a free transfer, the agent and signing on fees could be covered by Japanese shirt sales alone if the right club brings him in. With his stylish playing style, bleach blonde hair and good looks there is little doubt a club would be signing a commodity as well as a talented footballer.
But who could sign him? There has been much rumour linking him with Arsenal, where he would undoubtedly fit in while Chelsea and Manchester City might also fancy bringing in a player with huge marketability not to mention Liverpool, who have a large following in the Land of the Rising Sun.
But an outside bet could be on Everton moving for him, especially if Maraoune Fellaini does move on. Honda plays the ‘false 9’ position extremely well off the centre forward and while the two are distinctly different players Honda could act as a great replacement, especially on a Bosman deal.
Whatever the case come January there will be a mass scramble for this man’s signature.
Ronaldo eat your heart out???
image: © lloydm