Rafa Benitez has successfully lifted the mood in the Newcastle United camp in recent months. That much is clear, with the Spaniard the most popular managerial figure on Tyneside since the days of the great Sir Bobby Robson.
However, one player who hasn’t seen much bright light is the estranged striker, Yoshinori Muto. Brought in for around £9.5m (via the Chronicle) the signing really hasn’t worked. Having been unable to prove himself up front, he’s all but lost his way in a team that now looks really rather settled under the former Liverpool coach as they look forward to another season in the top tier.
After arriving in the summer with a prime goal-scoring reputation, there were many hopes pinned on the Japanese marksman to bring some pace and excitement to the Magpies’ frontline. However, during a difficult period for the Toon Army, Muto struggled to make an impact, having only scored one goal in 13 appearances – with most of them coming from the bench so far.
Since then, it’s all been downhill for the 26-year-old. He’s lost his place in the team to the impactful Salomon Rondon, who’s made the centre-forward position his own. Due to Ayoze Perez’s inspired form and Miguel Almiron’s introduction, Muto’s been unable to climb back into the lineup.
The departure for the AFC Asian Cup in January also wrecked his chances of making a come-back and since then, he’s only made one substitute appearance recently in their draw against Bournemouth. With Rondon leading their line effectively and Benitez having built the team around him, it’s nearly impossible for Muto right now.
Indeed, he’s also been unable to cope with the intensity of the Premier League, often looking out of place when brought on late in games during Newcastle’s poor early season run. Muto’s also not versatile enough to position himself in other positions and add options to Benitez’s squad and has been underwhelming with his movement, positioning or tapping into his clinical scoring ability.
The next months are crucial towards his stay at Newcastle. Muto needs to make the best of his substitute appearances and make an impact in pressing times. Unless he starts scoring or creating goals, it could be the end of the road for the Japanese.
Considering his poor run at Newcastle, no prominent team will trust signing Muto. A return to the Bundesliga or one to his home country could earn him the reputation for being a promising talent, who crumbled under the pressure of the big leagues.
Newcastle fans, have you been disappointed by Muto’s signing? Join the discussion by commenting below…
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience