Everton has been handed a boost in their pursuit of Keisuke Honda.
According to the Liverpool Echo, the Japanese star has emerged as one of Roberto Martinez’s top targets this summer with the former Wigan man checking out the play-maker during the recent confederations cup.
The CSKA Moscow star is entering the final 6 months of his deal and will be available on a free transfer come January however the Russian outfit could be willing to do business this summer for as little as £5.5 million.
That price tag would appeal to Martinez although the Merseysider’s will face serious competition to land the 27 year old with AC Milan also keen.
CSKA’s general director, Roman Babaev, confirmed that the club would be willing to cash in on the midfielder but only if the right offer came in.
Babaev said: “The situation has not changed. Honda could be speaking to another club at the moment, because the rules allow it.
“But our position is clear. We are ready to let him go if we receive a reasonable offer.
“We are pleased that Milan are interested but we also have to be realistic. Yes, his expiring contract affects his market value but there is a limit as to how low we can go.
“We are not worried if he ends up leaving the club on a free transfer.
“It is a difficult decision to make – part ways with Honda now or keep him until his contract expires.
“We are interested to know how this progresses. The ball is in Milan’s court now.”
A signing of the magnitude of Honda would send out a real message to the Everton fans who have endured a difficult summer to date with rumours surrounding the future of two of last season’s top performers, Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini.
Baines has attracted the attentions of Manchester United although Everton have resisted their overtures so far while Arsenal are keen on Fellaini but as of yet have not met the £22 million release clause in the Belgian star’s contract.
The club have already completed deals for Wigan pair Antolin Alcaraz and striker Arouna Kona and are also believed to be keen on deals for Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu and Spartak Moscow star Aiden McGeady.