Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hailed Keisuke Honda as "a genius" and the star player at World Cup 2010.
The Japan international wowed supporters with his performances for the Asian challengers and grabbed three goals before dropping out of the competition at the second round phase. Comfortable up front or on either wing, this versatility made him hot property before CSKA Moscow scooped him up for £5 million in December.
Wenger had been believed to have been close to making a bid for his services, along with Tottenham Hotspur, Ajax, PSV and Twente. Speaking to Eurosport, he couldn't hide his admiration for the 24-year-old, who is also believed to be a target for Barcelona.
"This Japansese team is based on a solid and collective defence in which everybody knows exactly what to do," Wenger said.
"When they get the ball they can give it to Honda - and the magic starts.
"When they get that genius Honda playing up front, he has shown what a top class player he is. For me he's the best performer of the competition so far."