Finally, after a long and drawn-out process involving much speculation, AC Milan will be able to officially call Keisuke Honda a part of their squad come Jan. 3.
Sky Sports' Graeme Bailey confirmed the move:
As expected AC Milan have confirmed the capture of Japanese midfield ace Keisuke Honda on a Bosman free - will join in January.— Graeme Bailey (@GraemeBailey) December 11, 2013
Speaking at a UEFA banquet on Wednesday, Milan vice president Adriano Galliani addressed the room, per the club's official website, stating:
Now we can talk. From the 3rd of January 2014 Keisuke Honda will be a Milan player. We had already set out a contract but put it to one side. Now we can talk, but it will be difficult as he is a non-EU player, and I don’t know if he can already play from the 6th of January against Atalanta. Later he will make his debut away to Sassuolo.
The Japanese international was linked with a move to the San Siro during the summer months, but with the player's contract at CSKA Moscow coming to end in the new year, a January switch made more sense financially.
Eurosport also confirmed the news, adding that Honda will wear the No. 10 jersey, which had been vacated following Kevin-Prince Boateng's departure to Schalke in August.
Although Kaka has made his attempts at filling that trequartista support role since returning to the club, 27-year-old Honda could be a better alternative behind the attacking line.
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Valter Birsa is another who has played predominantly as a central attacking midfielder, but Sky Sports reported that a thigh injury will keep the Slovenian out until January.
Although the transfer is good news for Milan, it's worth noting that Honda's form has gone off the boil in the Russian capital these last few months.
The playmaker has scored just five goals and made four assists in 27 appearances for CSKA across all competitions this term, according to Transfermarkt.co.uk. That's compared with the seven goals and six assists he managed in 21 starts for the club during last season's Russian Premier League campaign alone.
Milan could use every positive they can muster at the moment, however—the Rossoneri have taken just 18 points from their first 15 Serie A games this term and are currently ninth in the standings.
A savvy addition before the transfer window has even opened, it will be intriguing to see what other business lies ahead for the Italian giants, who are hoping a revival of huge proportions can be enacted in 2014.