Who is Yoshinori Muto? The £9.5m World Cup striker set to sign for Newcastle

Rafa Benitez is set to land Japanese striker Yoshinori Muto - but what do we know about the Mainz man?

Thursday, 26th July 2018, 11:09 am
Updated Thursday, 26th July 2018, 11:17 am
Yoshinori Muto is on his way to Tyneside

The Newcastle boss has been searching for a striker all summer and looks to have finally got his man with the £9.5m capture of Muto, currently FC Mainz 05.

But what do we know about the frontman?

READ: Muto reacts to Newcastle transfer dealHere's everything you need to know about the international striker set to sign at St James's Park:

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Key Details:

Age - 26

Height - 5ft, 10in

Nationality - Japanese

Position - Striker

Current Club - Mainz 05

Where else has he played?

In his relatively short career, Muto has only represented a handful of clubs.

He progressed through the youth ranks at J-League side FC Tokyo, before departing to study at Keio University in 2010.

Upon completing his degree in economics in 2013, Muto was signed to a professional contract at FC Tokyo and went on to net 64 times in just 51 appearances.

MORE: Today's Premier League rumours as Newcastle deal could be OFFHis fine form attracted interest, with Chelsea even lodging a bid in 2015, before a switch to Mainz 05 was agreed later in the same transfer window.

Muto later revealed that he did not feel ready for the Premier League and turned down a move to Stamford Bridge in order to progress in Germany.

During his time in the Bundesliga, Muto has netted 23 times in 69 appearances and has grown into a well-rounded attacking threat.

What has his international career been like?

Muto has also impressed on the international stage, having been handed a first senior cap in 2014.

The striker has gone on to make 25 appearances for his country, finding the net 14 times in the process.

READ: Newcastle midfielder breaks his silence over transfer requestHe was a part of the Japan squad that headed to the World Cup this summer, despite missing parts of the qualification stages through injury.

What type of player is he?

Muto's style of play centres around his electric pace, which makes him a real handful for opposition defenders.

It's something that players and pundits alike have noticed and, accompanied by some fine finishing, it makes him a threat.

Speaking to ESPN in 2015, Japan teammate Keisuke Honda said: "He has good speed, he looks fresh and [brings] a new style. We've never had that kind [of striker] in the Japanese national team. I agree [that he's not a typical Japanese striker], so I like him."

His character has also been praised, with former FC Tokyo coach Ranko Popovic claiming that his upbringing has played a big part in his development.

"He has something different to all other players because he comes from a good family," he admitted.

MORE: Rafa Benitez's Newcastle release clause has expired - but there's a catch"He has good education, he was at university. A very smart, intelligent guy. He has something that you cannot learn."

How will he fit into Rafa Benitez's side?

Benitez has been longing for a striker this summer, with Newcastle's attacking difficulties well-documented last season.

In Muto, he has found a striker who will be more than capable of leading the line solo, with his pace and power allowing him to play as a lone striker.

But he could also prove part of an effective pairing or could even play out wide, giving Benitez some flexibility in the attacking areas.

His goalscoring record is fairly strong too, which should give supporters hope that he could be the consistent striker that has been lacking on Tyneside in recent years.

Muto is direct and comfortable running with the ball - with his only potential hindrance being a lack of an aerial threat.

But that shouldn't hold him back too much, with the Japanese striker still likely to be a real threat.