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AC Milan CEO says Keisuke Honda staying put

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Japanese star’s contract runs out in summer, though.

Empoli FC v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

All indications are that the Seattle Sounders really are trying to sign Keisuke Honda. The latest confirmation of this comes from well-connected MLSsoccer.com reporter Sam Stejskal (who worked with Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey when both were at Real Salt Lake).

Adding more fuel to the rumor is ESPN’s Jeffrey Carlisle, who says a league source has told him that a deal is “50-50.” Carlisle also reports that the deal would be for two years (presumably guaranteed) for about $1-1.5 million a year and not require a transfer fee.

There are still reasons to think a deal will at least have to wait, though. Remember that story we posted about how the ownership situation may cause some issues in all of this? Well, that appears to be exactly what’s going on now.

When AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani was asked about the rumors, he firmly denied that a move was about to transpire.

“Absolutely not,” he said, according to Gazzetta. “Honda will stay until June, until the expiry of his contract at AC Milan: we already agree with him and the coach.”

Of course, this could all change rather quickly. Galliani has been the CEO for seemingly ever, but he could be on the way out when Silvio Berlusconi completes his sale of the team. That deal is expected to be finalized as soon as next week.

It wouldn’t be the most surprising thing if Milan chose to hold onto a player they weren’t using out of little more than spite, but it will almost certainly be the new ownership group that makes the final call.

*Updated at 1:45 p.m. with Carlisle’s reporting.