Honda follows his heart to Milan

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Claudio Villa/Getty ImagesKeisuke Honda was all smiles in his introductory press conference with AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani.

In a press conference befitting of a football superstar, Milan presented new signing Keisuke Honda to the media on Wednesday. As expected, the Japanese international has created a frenzy in his homeland, but more importantly he is determined to work hard and become a "champion" with the Rossoneri.

- Report: Honda thrilled with move

Copies of a letter he wrote as a child at school have emerged since his move, as the 27-year-old insisted that he would one day wear the No.10 shirt and play in Serie A. Furthermore, he claimed on Wednesday that "my heart said Milan", and that despite interest from across Europe, the San Siro was always his preferred destination.

His creativity, speed, finishing and expertise in dead-ball situations are all welcome attributes, but it remains to be seen how he integrates himself into the starting line-up. Initially, he is likely to start as soon as he is deemed match-fit given the injuries elsewhere in the squad, and he conceded that he prefers to play behind the striker.

Massimiliano Allegri will likely play him in that role alongside Kaka and behind Mario Balotelli, although Sassuolo on Sunday may come too soon. But with all the variables in his favour, we now sit back and wait for "Honda mania" to move up another gear.

Naturally with such a high-profile player in the Far East, the impact of his signing is also felt off the pitch, where Adriano Galliani claims that the club has sold more shirts in Japan in a month than they did in the whole of last year.

However, he was also keen to stress that aside from the economic advantages, Milan have signed a player who can coexist with Kaka, and is looking forward to the pair working in tandem in the coming months.

Honda’s arrival comes with negative repercussions for some current squad members though, as it only serves to increase competition in a role on the pitch where the Rossoneri are blessed with a number of options.

Ideally, Robinho will finally secure a move elsewhere while there are suggestions that Milan are open to ending Alessandro Matri's miserable second spell at the club. That would in turn open up space, as Galliani maintains that the current squad is still too big and will be reduced either this month or in the summer.

Nevertheless, Honda's arrival is a boost and also makes sense from a business perspective which makes it an all-round shrewd move from Galliani, who had followed the former CSKA Moscow star for some time.

The attacking trident of Balotelli, Kaka and Honda promises much, as it is full of pace, creativity and dynamism that can ultimately exploit Serie A defences. However, another issue that arises from the transfer is whether or not the new coach will agree with the set-up.

With Allegri set to depart at the end of the season, that wouldn't necessarily suggest that Milan would enter the transfer market in January. However, the club believe that there is still plenty to play for this season, and while Honda will be ineligible in Europe, he remains a fantastic addition moving forward.

Will Honda be a success at Milan? Who is likely to benefit/suffer as a result?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty


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