‘A bargain for Newcastle’ – Bundesliga expert tells us why Yoshinori Muto could shine at NUFC

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.”

3) Do you see him as an out and out striker, or is he quite a versatile attacker who could play out wide and perhaps even off the front in more of a number 10 role?

“He played a lot as the support striker in Mainz, in a two-man strike-force, so could do the same at Newcastle.

“For Japan and sometimes at club level, he’s also played on the left, so that’s definitely an option.”

“I’d say he’s quick rather than fast, as they say in the NFL. Meaning he accelerates well but I wouldn’t call him a speedster.

“He’s good on the ball, but he probably lacks the tricks to play in a true number 10 role where he’d be expected to unlock defences”

“He’d dribble in behind but you wouldn’t expect him to use a trick to get past a defender. Perhaps play a one-two or use his acceleration and movement.”

4) Sky Sports claim the fee is £9.5m and Mainz have also confirmed that an agreement has been reached. Is this fee about right or do you see this as a real bargain for Benitez?

“It’s relatively cheap.

“If he had put in the same performances in the Premier League or even the Championship as he did in Germany, Newcastle would be paying at least twice as much.”

5) If you were to avoid sitting on the fence, would you say he’ll end up being a good signing for NUFC and thrive in English football, or do you fear he may struggle to adapt to the Premier League?

“He settled quickly in Germany (10 goals in all comps in first season) so he should adapt well to England.

“He’s a hard-worker and has impressed all his coaches at Mainz.

“He should be a success at Newcastle.”

Some really interesting stuff here and a pretty positive review on the whole, with Ronan clearly feeling like £9.5m could be a real bargain for Muto.

It’s good to hear about his movement, his work rate and his versatility – three things that will really appeal to Rafa Benitez – however the big test will be just how many goals he can score.

Either way, let’s get right behind the lad. He sounds like he could be a great bit of business for under £10m.

A big thanks to Ronan Murphy for his time, giving us a really interesting insight into the striker all set to sign at St James’ this week. (Follow him here)

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

2 thoughts on “‘A bargain for Newcastle’ – Bundesliga expert tells us why Yoshinori Muto could shine at NUFC

  1. Japanese players don’t have a good record playing in England. Muto is lightweight and isn’t renowned as a goalscorer. And we NEED a consistent goalscorer. This is a bargain bin buy, and he’ll probably perform like one. Not impressed. And if we sign Rondon – who is not a prolific scorer either, relegation will be certain. Rafa doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s going for the wrong players.

    Schar is decent, but we need much more.


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