Date: 20th March 2012 at 6:00pm
Written by:

Life Sports that Arsenal are preparing a £11.6 million summer bid for CSKA Moscow playmaker Keisuke Honda, whose contract with the Russian outfit expires in 2013.

The 25-year-old’s agent, Kees Ploegsma, admitted last week that the Japanese star may look to leave CSKA in the summer, but insists his client remains focused on the current campaign.

Ploegsma told the Russian sports site:

‘We were not able to carry out maintenance of the Honda CSKA Moscow in the winter, but see what happens in the summer. Until then, Honda will work for this club.’

It appears Arsenal are in no hurry to discuss any transfer information involving Honda:

‘We do not comment on transfer activities of our club.’

Honda was linked with a move to The Emirates last summer, but nothing transpired. However, with his contract nearing its expiry date and the midfielder seemingly growing restless in Russia, a change of scenery could possibly be on the cards at the end of the season.

Former CSKA coach Alexander Tarkhanov believes the ex-VVV-Venlo man would suit Arsenal’s style of play, should he choose to join the London club:

‘Honda is a subtle player who plays a good game.

‘After the departure of Wagner from CSKA, the Japanese star took over the leadership roles and has coped well. As for his possible transition to Arsenal, it seems to me that Keisuke is ideal for Arsene Wenger’s concept.’

Honda moved to CSKA from Dutch outfit VVV-Venlo in 2009 for a reported fee of €6 million. And after an impressive World Cup in South Africa the following year, Honda attracted intense interest from several European clubs, including AC Milan, Liverpool, Arsenal and Lazio.

Having agreed personal terms, the Japanese international almost sealed a January switch to Lazio this season, but CSKA pulled the plug on the deal as both clubs failed to agree a fee for the utility player.

Known hugely for his versatility, set-pieces and skill, Honda has made a total of 70 appearances for CSKA so far, scoring 13 goals and creating six.

I honestly believe that Arsenal should pursue Honda at all costs this summer.

The midfielder has exceptional talent and would suit our style of play perfectly.

Honda can be deployed as a deep-lying playmaker or in the hole behind the striker, a position I still thinks needs addressing at our club since the departure of Cesc Fabregas last summer.

The CSKA playmaker would make a great addition to the team, is in his prime and with his contract set to expire next summer, it would be foolish not to try and snap him up, if the price is right of course.

We all know we desperately need a striker and a player that can create in the middle of the park, the addition of Honda, in my opinion, would certainly kill two birds with stone!

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