Newcastle's Yoshinori Muto reveals why he turned down a move to Chelsea
Muto joined Newcastle United this summer from Mainz in a £9.5million deal.
The forward turned down an offer from tomorrow’s opponents Chelsea three years ago – and instead opted to sign for the Bundesliga club.
And Muto – who hopes to faces Maurizio Sarri’s team at St James’s Park – feels that it was the right decision.
“I was 22 when I got the offer from Chelsea, at the time I didn’t feel the manager of the club really wanted or needed me at the time,” said the Japan international.
“I think they wanted to sign young players with potential and then loan them out to help them progress.
“Instead of doing that, I wanted to stay at club to help me progress. I wanted to feel like I could make my own progress step by step, therefore I didn’t take that opportunity. You don’t get confidence quickly, it only comes through doing things little by little.”
Muto is pushing for a start against Chelsea, having come off the bench in the United’s first two Premier League games.
“Of course, it would be a strange feeling to play against Chelsea,” said Muto.
“They’re obviously a fantastic club, really strong. If we can be united as a team, as one, then they are an opponent we can get a win.
“We really need the three points. If I contribute by scoring or assisting, it will be a fantastic weekend.”
Muto is settling into life on Tyneside – on and off the pitch – after three years in Germany.
“The club is fantastic,” said the 26-year-old.
“I’m really grateful to come to this club. The supporters have been really enthusiastic and wonderful. I would like to make a really good result to try to help the club and so on.
“This is a big challenge and I feel I can contribute to the club in some capacity, I would like to either score or contribute to the result.”
Muto went to the World Cup with Japan, who made it to the knocout stages before losing to Belgium.
“I wasn’t able to play that long – on a personal level I am a bit not happy about that,” said Muto.
“As a team, I think the last game against Belgium, we did a great performance. If small details could change, then maybe we could get a different result.”
Japan’s players made headlines off the pitch for cleaning their dressing room after games.
“It’s our normal way of doing things,” said Muto. “It’s too show gratitude to use their facilities. It’s not something we did especially, we do that always in any places, even like in facilities for training matches.
“It wasn’t something that we wanted for attention, or praise, we just acted as normal, and it happened to get the attention.”
Muto will do his bit in United’s dressing room.
“I will try to clean up little bit of detail, and maybe we can get slightly better,” said Muto, who started his career at FC Tokyo.
“It’s difficult, obviously. I wouldn’t be happy leaving places dirty.
“It wasn’t the same in Germany either, so it’s cultural difference. Being here, you just do as you do.”