News that Miguel Almiron will miss the last three games of the season is a real blow, but it could just hand a long awaited chance to a rarely seen Rafa Benitez signing – Yoshinori Muto.
Since making the £9.5m move from Bundesliga side Mainz, the Japanese international has started just five times all season – playing just 21 minutes of football since returning from the Asian Cup in February.
There’s been talk of him taking a while to pick up the English language, but he’s shown promise on the odd occasion he’s played and appears to have the pace, work-rate and energy to play in Almiron’s role – with him also having experience of playing out wide both at Mainz and with Japan.
As you can see in the highlights below, he’s shown a burst of pace, decent upper body strength, bundles of energy and decent passing / dribbling in some of his cameos this season:
Christian Atsu is Rafa’s other option out wide, and although he’s done a decent job in recent cameos from the bench, I think it’s time both we and Benitez got a proper look at Muto.
I can see why he’s had so little game time up top, with Rondon’s priceless performances since November making him undroppable, however a big chance has now arisen to see the 26-year-old in action.
I for one would love to see him given a proper run in the side over our last three games of the season – starting at Brighton on Saturday.
After all, the other options are Christian Atsu – a player who’s had plenty chances but is yet to bag a single goal or assist this season – and Kenedy; someone who won’t even be a Newcastle player in a month’s time.