Melbourne Victory are still hopeful of convincing Keisuke Honda to stay for another A-League season despite a reported exit statement from the Japanese star.
Honda has given an interview with Fox Sports, to be broadcast ahead of Victory’s A-League elimination final with Wellington Phoenix, suggesting this season will be his one and only in Australia.
"I still don’t decide where I will play next year,” News Corp reports Honda as saying.
"But I knew that I would stay for just (one) year so I hope no one is surprised, no one disappointed."
Honda, 32, signed with the A-League champions on a one-year deal worth around $2 million with assistance from FFA’s marquee fund.
A serious hamstring injury limited the 98-cap international to just 16 A-League starts.
He is contracted until the end of May and the club expects him to fulfil his commitments in two dead rubber ties in the Asian Champions League.
Coach Kevin Muscat has been asked several times on the record about Honda’s future but declined to speculate, saying deals for all uncontracted players would be discussed at the end of the A-League season.
On Friday morning, a Victory spokesperson said Muscat’s statement stood but the club would seek an extension if they could agree terms.
If not, the club is expected to head into the transfer market for another major international signing.
Victory finished third this season and must beat Wellington, followed by Sydney FC in a semi-final next week - just as they did last season - if they are to return to the grand final.