There are big questions facing Newcastle United attacker Yoshinori Muto after his debut season at the club, according to The Chronicle journalist Mark Douglas.
Douglas delivered his verdict during a Chronicle Q & A, claiming that the Japan international has plenty to prove after underwhelming on Tyneside this term.
He also included the nugget that Muto’s signing from German club Mainz last summer was a result of manager Rafael Benitez having to compromise.
That suggests that the 26-year-old was not a priority signing for Benitez, perhaps explaining why he featured so infrequently over the second half of the campaign.
Yeah, it’s safe to say that Muto’s debut season at Newcastle didn’t go as well as anyone would have hoped. He didn’t come with a whole host of fanfare in the first place, to be fair, but you’d still have to have expected more from an experienced player like him. Obviously adapting to English football is never easy, we all know that, but one goal all season long isn’t good enough from a player of Muto’s calibre. He showed in flashes earlier on in the campaign that he had ability and the potential to make an impact at Premier League level, but going to the Asian Cup around the turn of the year really stymied his momentum and he never truly recovered. Look, it’s too early to write him off. He’s had injury problems and endured a stop-start season, but big improvement is needed over the summer and into next season. It won’t have helped his cause, either, if it’s true that Benitez was somewhat forced into signing him.