Japan’s Keisuke Honda has been linked with a number of top-flight clubs recently; his devastating free-kicks have lead AC Milan, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Liverpool to declare their interest.
Honda’s agent, Kees Ploegsma, has confirmed the interest from the Premiership trio; however, he has also put a spanner in the works by suggesting that his client would only leave current club CSKA Moscow for a move to La Liga.
“The most realistic option at the moment is for Honda to continue his career with CSKA, unless of course they will let him go. Athletico Madrid… he wants to try to force his game into the Spanish style and this club would support that option,” Sport-Express.
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Honda ability from set-pieces and his potential value in capturing the Japanese market has seen him dubbed “Asia’s answer to David Beckham”, and his price-tag of £8m has done nothing to deter his Premiership suitors. However, Ploegsma’s comments would appear to have dashed any hope of bringing Honda to England.
However, Arsene Wenger still has one bargaining chip: the offer of Champions League football. Kenny Dalglish and Gerard Houllier can’t offer the same, but then neither can Athletico Madrid; they currently sit 6th in La Liga, which would only qualify them for the Europa League.
If CSKA do allow Honda to listen to offers, then Wenger may just hold the trump card.