When Rafa Benitez signed Yoshinori Muto for Newcastle from Bundesliga side Mainz for £9.5 million in the summer of 2018, they were stepping into the unknown, with many fans not knowing much about the 5ft 8in Japanese striker.

Roll on a year, and fans still know little about the forward, with his first-team chances having been limited.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

But much of that is down to the player himself, with him at no point looking like someone with Premier League qualities whenever he got his chance.

The closest he came to establishing himself in the side, was when he scored a great goal at Old Trafford last season, but it was to be a fleeting moment for the former FC Tokyo star, and not one he would repeat consistently.

He played – and scored – in the EFL Cup game against Leicester this season, and had an up and down pre-season, and is a willing player, who would run around endlessly for the cause.

But unfortunately, he never looks like being the answer to Newcastle’s goal-scoring problems.

Some fans will point to Joelinton only having one goal to his name so far, but the difference is in their all-round games.

Where the big Brazilian is having to play the lone role up-top, and hold the ball up for his teammates, he is still making a contribution in games.

(Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Muto does not have the physique or attributes to play that way, and unless Steve Bruce was to completely change tack, and go for a traditional 4-4-2, there does not seem a route into the side for him.

 

This season was always likely to be a big one for him, and with Joelinton new to the league, he could have taken his chances as a substitute to stake a claim to be included.

But he has not been able to do so, which is a shame, as he seems like a genuinely nice guy, and is probably a great person to have around in training.

Football is a cut-throat business and no room for sentiment

But there is no room for sentiment in football, which is why it may be time for Newcastle to consider letting him leave in January.

A report in the Chronicle claimed that Bruce could yet target a new striker in the next transfer window, especially with the injury issues for Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle, but for me, they should prioritise another forward to replace Muto.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Some fans will likely disagree with my opinion, and like to see him given more of an opportunity, and if that happens and he makes a successful breakthrough, I will be the first to hold my hands up and say I was wrong.

But with Carroll returning to fitness, it will mean a further drop down the pecking order for Muto, and chances will be more restricted.

And in all honesty, if he has not shown the ability by now, it is doubtful that he ever will.

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