Keisuke Honda to join Melbourne in Australian League

Kyodo

Keisuke Honda will join Australian club Melbourne Victory next season on a deal rumored to be worth 2.9 million Australian dollars (U.S. $2.15 million), multiple Australian media outlets reported Wednesday.

The Victory, who play in the A-League, had targeted Honda as their marquee signing since his name emerged on a list of potential big-name recruits drawn up by Football Federation Australia.

After two months of negotiations, the two sides have reportedly agreed to a deal to bring Honda to Melbourne for the upcoming A-League season, which runs from mid-October until mid-May.

Victory — who boast a large fan-base and have won the domestic championship four times — will announce the signing on Monday, according to Fox Sports Australia.

The 32-year-old playmaker will follow in the footsteps of compatriot Shinji Ono, who enjoyed a successful stint with Western Sydney Wanderers from 2012 to 2014, during which he helped build the then-fledgling club into one of the league’s strongest sides.

Honda retired from international soccer following the recent World Cup in Russia, where he made history as the first Japanese to score at three World Cups.

As an impact substitute, he played a crucial role in helping Japan reach the knockout stage of the tournament for the first time in eight years.

He spent the past season with Mexican side Pachuca after a stint at AC Milan. Despite being a high-profile signing, Honda struggled to establish himself as a regular starter for the Italian glamor club.

News of Honda’s signing was first reported on the website of television program The World Game on Monday night.