This winter one man will be the subject of much transfer speculation, CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda. Dubbed the ‘Japanese Ronaldo’, because of his similar playing style to the Portuguese forward, he was expected to sign for AC Milan this summer. That was, by all accounts, the generally believed fact of the matter, especially in Italy.
Due to the scheduling of the Russian league when Honda moved to Moscow from VVV Venlo his contract expires in January - and Milan were all set to do what Tottenham Hotspur did with Lewis Holtby and bring him in earlier than the New Year.
But CSKA were not about to bow down to Milan, and they stuck to their guns, happy to let the Japanese international leave for nothing in order to save face in the transfer market.
But with that in mind Milan are now going into competition on the free market, and according to reports last month, some English teams are after him.
It was reported that Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton are all ready to enter the race for his signature this month, with Honda free to choose his own destination.
And why not? He is the perfect signing. Tall, powerful, technically gifted, ambidextrous and a marketing dream for the Far East - he is essentially Japan’s answer to David Beckham.
We even hypothesised that the Merseyside clubs might have a sizeable advantage on their rivals, after he became cup-tied for the Champions League this season featuring against Bayern Munich a fortnight ago.
But if you believe the Italian press, there really is nothing to talk about anymore - Honda is on his way to AC Milan.
It has been the general consensus that Serie A was the preferred destination of the players for a while now, but so far no official confirmation has been heard.
But it has not stopped the Italian media giving him a shirt number already. Reports suggest he will wear the iconic number 10 shirt, previously worn by the likes of Dejan Savicevic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Kevin Prince Boateng was the last player to wear the shirt, before his switch to Schalke 04 this summer.
So it looks as if Premier League sides can now start to assume defeat in the pursuit of Honda, as he speeds off into the distance on the Rossoneri highway.
image: © goatling