Honda has been in eye-catching form for Japan at the World Cup and was easily their star player at the tournament. The 24-year-old midfielder was already showing glimpses of talent for his club CSKA Moscow in the Champions League last season, but now he has come to everyone’s full attention after his performances on the world’s biggest stage. He is one of only five players in the Japan squad who ply their trade outside of their home country, and his debut for the team coincided with his first move outside of Japan when he joined Dutch side VVV-Venlo in 2008.
Despite only spending two years at Venlo, he gained a cult following from the fans and the Dutch media dubbed him ‘Kaizer Keisuke’ – Emperor Keisuke for his good performances. He was named as club captain during his time there because of his consistency and ended up scoring 24 goals in 68 games for them. He signed for CSKA in January 2010 and ended up being thrown right into the deep end at the club, making his debut against Sevilla in the second round of the Champions League. In the second leg of the game in Seville he showed his class by setting up his side’s opener and then scoring the winner with a long-range freekick.
Having spent just six months in Russia the interest in him will be great and CSKA will be trying to do all they can to keep hold of him, particularly as their other star player Milos Krasic looks very likely to leave. Honda has many attributes that would appeal to Premier League clubs, his vision is first class and his technical ability on the ball can be outstanding at times. The only doubt about him is whether or not he could withstand the physical demands of the Premiership, but other than that he has enough about him to make sides very interested in securing his services. CSKA have no doubt landed themselves a bargain as they signed him from Venlo for just £4.9m. Now Honda has had a good World Cup they could probably make a profit of five times that amount should they decide to sell.
As he hasn’t been at CSKA for too long it seems unlikely that he would leave them this summer, however come the winter transfer window then things might have changed. Whoever can secure his signature will be getting a real talent and Honda definitely has the talent to take him all the way.