Japanese international midfielder Keisuke Honda has said that he is on the verge of sealing a move to Italian giants AC Milan from CSKA Moscow.
"I have already admitted having negotiations (with AC Milan) and it's true that they are entering the final stage," Honda said in an interview with the Nikkan Sports daily. The 27-year-old, who was training in Tokyo on Thursday, said contract details were "being settled", according to the newspaper.
CSKA had demanded a €5 million ($6.7 million) transfer fee, the report said. "As far as I have heard, Milan has mostly satisfied" the financial terms, said the star midfielder, whose contract with the Russian club expires in December.
Last month, Honda scored a double to help his side claim the Russian Super Cup with a 3-0 victory over Zenit St Petersburg. After more than three years with the reigning Russian champions, Honda has been eyeing Europe's top clubs as he looks ahead to next year's FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil. He has in the past been linked with several English Premier League sides.
Honda said senior officials from the two clubs were to meet in the coming days. "A clear decision will be made there," he said, adding the final word rested with CSKA president Yevgeny Giner.
Honda said he would not budge on his own demands. "There may be a solution that my pay could be cut to help finance the transfer but I don't intend to lower (my salary) even one yen," he said.
Despite the player's claims, CSKA Moscow president Yevgeny Giner rejected his assessment of the situation, telling Russian daily Sport Express that no agreement had been reached with Milan, whom he accused of showing a "disrespectful attitude".
"I'm already sick and tired of the speculation around Honda," the newspaper quoted the CSKA president as saying. "We were waiting for the Italian side to understand they have to stop all this talk but unfortunately it did not happen. We expressed our position three weeks ago. We will not sell Honda to Milan. Neither for five million (dollars) nor for 10. Period.
"Our club will never tolerate any disrespectful attitude from anybody," Giner added. "We were ready to meet their demands halfway in case Milan representatives acted in a civilised way. We were ready to study an official offer in case they produced it. But they decided to provoke Honda into a conflict with us."