Keisuke Honda set to join AC Milan in January

Japanese playmaker Keisuke Honda is set to join AC Milan from CSKA Moscow in January.
Denis Tyrin/AP

Japan playmaker Keisuke Honda will leave CSKA Moscow to join AC Milan in January, the Serie A club said on Wednesday.

Honda, whose contract at CSKA ends in December, will be a much-needed reinforcement for Milan which is ninth in Serie A, having managed just four wins in its first 15 league matches.

"Keisuke Honda will be a Milan player from January 3," said chief executive Adriano Galliani. "We have already filed the contract, although we've been keeping it secret."

Galliani added that he expected Honda to make his debut at Sassuolo on Jan. 12.

Honda, a CSKA player for four years since moving from Dutch club VVV Venlo and who won a Russian Premier League winners' medal last season, is central to all of Japan's attacking plans as they prepare for next year's World Cup in Brazil.

The bleach-blond 27-year-old is Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni's playmaker, forcing Shinji Kagawa to attack from the left, something at which the Manchester United player has voiced his displeasure.

Calm and assured in possession, Honda is a great reader of the game and astute at bringing team mates into play, while his dribbling is a hot commodity in a passing-dominated era. He boasts a strong scoring record thanks mainly to his work at set pieces and was named player of the tournament as Japan won the 2011 Asian Cup.

He played for Japan at the 2010 World Cup, scoring the only goal against Cameroon and also tallying on a magnificent free kick in a 3-1 win over Denmark as his side reached the last 16.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by Ken Ferris)

© 2014 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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