Transfer talk

Man City in for two Japan stars

May 22, 2011
By Harry Harris, Football Correspondent

Japan internationals Keisuke Honda and Yuki Abe are lined up as the first new signings of Manchester City's ambitions to win the Premier League title and take on Europe's elite in the Champions League.

Keisuke Honda: Hot property
GettyImages / EpsilonKeisuke Honda moved to CSKA Moscow from Dutch side VVV Venlo in 2010

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Linked with all the world stars from Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo, Roberto Mancini's first global assault takes place with City broadening their global reach.

Honda is rated one of the best footballers Japan has produced. The forward made an impact in the World Cup finals, alongside Yuki Abe in midfield.

Honda is currently with CSKA Moscow, while his close friend Abe has already sampled life in England and the game in this country under Sven Goran Eriksson at Leicester City.

Even though there has been absolutely zero speculation about either Japanese stars, an ESPNsoccernet insider says: "The deals are under way, and expect both players to be at Eastlands."

Honda is a recognised global figure having come to the attention of Liverpool earlier in the season when Roy Hodgson was still manager. Honda been has linked with Arsenal since the World Cup, as well as AC Milan.

Honda started his career at Gamba Osaka, the same club as former Arsenal player Junichi Inamoto, before moving onto Nagoya Grampus Eight.

Yuki Abe moved from Urawa Red Diamonds to Leicester City but is now eager to join Honda at Eastlands. He played in all of Japan's World Cup games before they lost to Paraguay in the first knockout round.

He was the youngest ever to play in the J-League when he made his debut in August 1998 and played a vital role in Urawa wining the 2007 Asian Champions League. The 29-year-old has made 36 appearances for Leicester this season, scoring one goal.