While many of their rivals have been distracted by the business of hiring and firing managers in recent weeks, Liverpool have quietly gone about strengthening their squad.
With the signings of Kolo Toure and Iago Aspas already in the bag, a new goalkeeper seems to be Brendan Rodgers’ next target, with a £6.5million move for Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet mooted only yesterday.
The attacking midfielder was linked with a £12million move to Anfield back in December. And just three months later – with the 26-year-old in the last year of his contract – reports suggested Liverpool were keen to sign the Japanese player on a pre-contract agreement.
Stories that he had already signed a similar agreement with Italian club Lazio were quickly dismissed. And following the announcement that he is leaving CSKA, Rodgers could sign something of a gem for considerably less than he is worth.
Able to play in a number of forward positions, Honda scored 7 goals in 20 appearances in last season’s Russian Premier League. This year, he has 6 goals in 13 games.
And while the arrival of Aspas adds to an already exciting selection of attacking talent – including Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge – the likely departure of Luis Suarez leaves space for more goals and creativity to arrive.
And should Honda really be considering Anfield as his next home, there is another reason the club’s money-men will be stirring.
Like it or not, football is about far more than just feet and a ball. It is about marketing, about pound signs, about brands. And with Honda, Liverpool would be signing more than just a player.
While Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa is seen as the star of Japanese football, Honda is arguably the leader of the national team. His arrival at Anfield – for nothing more than a signing-on fee –would swell the club’s coffers considerably, through the money he will generate in his homeland and beyond.
Of course they may not want him. But his talents echo those of the team Rodgers appears to be building.
Do you think Liverpool should move for Honda? If not, who else would you like the club to sign this summer?
image: © yoppy