Date: 3rd August 2019 at 10:00am
Written by:

OPINION

This time a fortnight ago, it would have been hard to imagine Newcastle United fans going into the new Premier League season with anything other than a mounting sense of dread. 

With Rafa Benitez gone, and with star men Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon heading for challenges elsewhere, the Toon Army looked as if they were staring down the barrel of a gun named relegation.

What a difference a couple of weeks can make though.

Of course, Benitez is still not on Tyneside, and successor Steve Bruce was hardly the people’s choice as his replacement, but a flurry of transfer activity has suddenly turned the Magpies’ squad into something half presentable.

First came Brazilian hitman Joelinton from Hoffenheim, and now, on a hectic and largely unexpected Friday evening, Allan Saint-Maximin and Jetro Willems were both announced as Newcastle players, as reported by Sky Sports News.

To butcher an idiom, however, every silver lining has a cloud, and while those two acquisitions are both welcome and overdue, it does mean that the Magpies now have 28 senior players on their books.

As reported by the Chronicle, Premier League rules state that teams may only register 25 players for a season. As a result, it is likely that Toon Army are going to have to shift some talent before the transfer deadline.

And while no names are specifically mentioned in the report, one player who is surely worried is Japanese forward Yoshinori Muto.

The £54,000-a-week international [Spotrac] struggled in his first season in England, and if the Magpies are looking to get rid of dead weight, he must surely be somewhere near the top of the list.

Muto managed just one goal in his debut year in Tyneside, completing just 0.4 shots on goal and 0.3 key passes per game, as well as a pass completion rate of 70.9%, as per Whoscored.

Those stats are hardly flattering, and unless he can prove his worth quickly, these could be a nervy few days for the 27-year-old.