With Mainz now confirming that Yoshinori Muto has agreed a move to Newcastle United, we’ve been trying to find out a little bit more about the Japanese striker who looks all set to sign at St James’ Park in the coming days.
A £9.5m move now seems imminent, so we’ve reached out to Bundesliga expert Ronan Murphy – a football journalist for @GOAL and a man who knows Muto more than most after watching him for Mainz over the past three seasons.
He boasts a steady record of 20 goals in 66 Bundesliga games, but it’s fair to say the 26-year old is a player very few of us NUFC fans will know much about.
With that in mind, here’s what Ronan had to say to us during a quick Q&A we conducted following news of the striker’s move to Newcastle:
1) Aside from a quick Google search (showing a record of 20 goals and 10 assists in 66 Bundesliga games for Mainz) I, like many NUFC fans, know very little of Muto. What sort of player is he? What would you say are his strengths and weaknesses?
“Muto could be a bargain for Newcastle. He’s tactically excellent, great off the ball, times his runs well, and is a very hard worker. He will be a big loss for Mainz.
“His strength is definitely his positional play. He has a knack for getting into dangerous positions and receiving the ball well in and around the opposition box.
“This produced a solid record for Mainz, but he should up his numbers with a better club.
“He needs to find goal scoring form on a more consistent basis, however. Often he scores in bursts and then not for a good few games so the average is around one in three, but he’s sometimes not consistent in front of goal.
“He’s not a big aerial presence either. He’s fine in the air, but far from dominant (5ft 10′)”
2) It’s interesting to hear you say he’s “tactically excellent”, “great off the ball”, “times his runs well” and is a “very hard worker”. This all sounds great as our team thrives on players that fit into Rafa’s system and work hard for the team, but our biggest problem last season was goals. We missed too many chances and lacked cutting edge up front. Is he a player you could see getting into double figures in the Premier League?
“High single figures or even double figures is a possibility.
“He’s more of a support player than an out-and-out striker, so will contribute as many goals as he scores. Might not be the assister but will be involved in the build-up.
“He’s not really had the chance to score many (Mainz have struggled over the past two seasons), but he definitely needs to improve on his finishing.
“Sometimes snatches at chances. But you might be able to train him to be better at that.”