Newcastle United are reportedly monitoring FSV Mainz 05 striker, Yoshinori Muto as Mike Ashley has expressed his intentions to provide Rafael Benitez with the right funds to restrengthen in the summer. The Magpies owner has previously been hesitant to offer any financial backing but after a brilliant season in the Premier League is convinced of the Spaniard’s abilities.
Muto is one of the best players in the Bundesliga outfit. He has found the back of the net 10 times and has furthered 5 assists in his 30 appearances this campaign. The 25-year-old has been with Mainz for the past 3 seasons and has totalled 72 senior team appearances along with his 23 goals and 11 assists.
He has really found a rhythm in the European top-flight and is much influential for the German side. Muto started his professional career with FC Tokyo, signing his first contract in 2014 and being named in J League’s Season XI in his debut season.
But prior to that he had represented Keio University and was named “Rookie Of The Year”. He was playing on the side for FC Tokyo as one of the ‘Special Designated Players’ – a term which allows footballers to appear in J League games without a professional contract.
Muto was primed for stardom outside of Japan and quickly set himself into life in Germany. He even earned himself a call-up to the Japan national side in 2014 and has now been capped 19 times.
The 25-year-old is not a traditional forward who will hold up the ball against physically imposing defenders. Standing at 5 feet 10 inches, he is more of a pacey and technically adept option who can beat opposition players on the dribble.
Muto’s keen sense of scoring is finally hitting top-flight standards and could be further developed at St James’ Park. The Japanese international is quite similar to the strikers the club already employs under Benitez and could formulate a strong bond with Ayoze Perez in the starting XI.
Dwight Gayle, unfortunately, has struck out for the Tyneside outfit this campaign, managing just 5 goals and 4 assists in his 37 appearances. Islam Slimani’s horror run while away on-loan from Leicester City has already come to a premature end.
Whether Aleksandar Mitrovic will be recalled is yet to be seen which, however, will significantly reduce if Benitez imposes his will on the Muto transfer. The Spaniard should strongly consider giving Mitrovic a second shot at strike next campaign instead of spending all his money on Muto or maybe both can be signed while Gayle and Adam Armstrong are sold off for other prospects.