In the post-match press conference after the Parma vs. Milan match, coach Massimiliano Allegri diverted the attention from the team's disappointing 3-2 loss and announced that the January transfer window signing of Keisuke Honda was official.
The move was a strategic one which made the media focus on the one positive note among a plethora of negative topics ominously shrouding one of the most storied sides in world football.
The Japanese trequartista was in negotiations with Milan throughout the Summer, according to his agent and reports released by the club, but a deal could not be sealed and was postponed until January.
But after Sunday's match, Allegri told Sky Sport Italia (via Sky Sports) that the Honda deal would be completed in January along with the signing of defender Adil Rami.
The 27-year-old attacking midfielder has scored 18 goals in 48 matches for the Blue Samurai and has featured for Russian giants CSKA Moscow for the past three years. He is an experienced player who has the know-how to play both in the Champions League and internationally.
Honda excels at set-piece situations, where he is one of the finest left-footed free-kick takers in Europe. Alongside Mario Balotelli, one can only imagine the fear the two of them will strike in opposing goalkeepers once they line up behind the ball.
More than anything, it's the added technique in midfield that Honda will bring Milan, which is a big welcome for the club that needs to play more quality balls to their forward line.
Honda can play as a traditional No. 10, but it would be curious whether or not Allegri goes with a 4-2-3-1 formation to accommodate both him and Kaka.
In this type of tactical setup, it would be interesting to see Mario Balotelli up front, with Stephan El Shaarawy as the left-winger and Honda alternating with Kaka in the middle or right side of the attack.
No matter what, this move gives Allegri many more options as he constantly tinkers to find the best starting XI to hopefully make an impressive post-Christmas comeback like last season.
As a matter of fact, one could draw many comparisons between this team and last year's, as both of them have started poorly and have faced plenty of adversity and injury woes.
Even if Keisuke Honda turns out to be a disappointment on the pitch, Milan will benefit from the marketing picked up from having one of the finest Japanese players in a football-obsessed country. In a quest to regain glory both in Europe and internationally, having a player of his quality will only help the team's branding, which has taken a considerable hit since their glory days in the '90s and mid-2000s.
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