Yoshinori Muto has the potential to go down as one of Newcastle United’s worst signings in the Premier League era.
The Japan international arrived at St. James’ Park in the summer of 2018, joining on Rafa Benitez’s watch from Bundesliga side Mainz.
Muto had just enjoyed a good time with his nation at the World Cup finals in Russia, and his performances at the tournament had plenty of Newcastle supporters excited.
Now almost three years on, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Newcastle fan who wouldn’t miss him if he was offloaded.
Muto has made just 28 appearances for the Magpies and scored two goals.
This term he’s been on loan at Eibar, who are currently only out of La Liga’s relegation zone by virtue of goal difference.
Muto has managed just three goals in 22 appearances in total there so far, which is actually better than his record at Newcastle, but still poor.
It was widely reported at the time (including by the Daily Mail) that Muto was signed for around £10 million.
But according to The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards, Newcastle actually spent more on Muto, but deliberately misled fans and the media about the real fee.
He said: “They spent £14m on Muto I think. Was supposedly only £10m but I think that was deliberately misleading because someone realised very early it was a mistake.”
Another example of Newcastle’s awful recruitment
If Newcastle really did pay more for Muto than was first reported, it will hardly come as a shock to many Newcastle fans.
Such a thing is somewhat embarrassing, and very ‘Newcastle’ under the current regime.
Muto will eventually leave the club for a fee much less than the actual £14 million paid, and most Newcastle fans will hope to forget it ever happened.