Newcastle United coach Ben Dawson has named forward Yoshinori Muto as the likeliest candidate to lead the Magpies attack in their season opener against Arsenal.
The north east giants have seen Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez leave the club following tremendous seasons last time out, and Dawson believes the Japan international is the frontrunner to spearhead the team’s attack moving forward.
“Muto, it’s down to him,” he said, as per the Shields Gazette. “If he continues to work hard in training and score goals, then it would be his shirt to lose.”
Muto is a bit of a surprise candidate to lead the Newcastle attack next season given how poorly his debut campaign with the club went. His two main rivals for a starting spot at the moment would appear to be Dwight Gayle, who is back from a stunning season on loan with West Bromwich Albion in the Championship, and Joelinton, who Sky Sports report Newcastle are in talks to sign from German side Hoffenheim. When you look at how those three men performed last time out, Muto would appear to be the least well suited to be the team’s starter moving forward. As per WhoScored.com, the only major offensive statistical categories where the 27-year-old beat Gayle and Joelinton last season were in the number of times he was offside and how often gave the ball away. Clearly he is solid in possession, which is a fine trait to have, but he scored just once and averaged only 0.4 shots per game. To compare, Gayle had 2.4 shots per game and Joelinton 2 shots per game. Despite that, and after scoring the only goal in Saturday’s friendly win over West Ham United, Muto appears to be the frontrunner to lead the Magpies attack against Arsenal.