Rafa Benitez was a busy man in the summer transfer window.
Having finished midtable with a relatively light squad in terms of numbers, it was the perfect chance for Benitez and Newcastle United to kick on this season and the first way the Spaniard could try to do so was with the transfer window.
The Spaniard prioritised defensive stability, bringing in Martin Dubravka on a permanent deal, Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez. As well as Sung-Yong Ki’s addition, some more firepower was needed up top to replace Dwight Gayle and to put Aleksandar Mitrovic’s fee to good use.
Salomon Rondon and Yoshinori Muto were brought in, the former on loan and the latter on a permanent deal. The Venezuelan has been Newcastle’s sole goalscoring threat with five goals in the Premier League with Ayoze Perez, Muto and Joselu amounting that number between them.
Unfortunately for Benitez and the club, Muto has not lived up to expectations as of yet, scoring just once in 12 appearances in the Premier League, granted, only five have been starts, but he has provided little support to Rondon or Joselu in the second striker role.
It is not quite the same player who lit up the Bundesliga last season with Mainz 05, whereby he contributed 10 goals and five assists in 30 games across all competitions.
Naturally, it does take time to settle into the Premier League, however, Muto must step up his game soon, otherwise, Perez is likely to continue to be preferred in that role, and if Benitez opts for a 5-4-1 as he commonly has this season, Muto does not even get a look in.
The Japanese international now must prove his worth to Benitez, and fast, otherwise Benitez could be quick to relinquish Muto’s ability in favour of a transfer fee to reinvest into his squad.
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