Yoshinori Muto signing was perfect example of flawed Mike Ashley transfer ‘strategy’
Yosinori Muto was Newcastle United’s biggest signing last summer.
A transfer fee of £9.5m paid out to Mainz for the Japanese international.
Newcastle fans new little/nothing about him but as always with any new signing, you are hoping for the best and looking for positives.
Like pretty much all of this Newcastle squad, he seems to have a good attitude.
Not kicking up a fuss about not getting a game and saying all the right things about working harder to get in the team etc etc.
However, we are yet to see anything that suggests Yoshinori Muto is good enough for the Premier League.
Apart from that first half against a Manchester United defence who were in total chaos, I can’t really remember anything he as contributed this season.
Winning the penalty that Kenedy missed at Cardiff probably my only memory of him. At Old Trafford the whole team looked good until Man Utd made subs and got going, even Kenedy looked good despite having a horrendous season otherwise.
Muto has now made only five Premier League starts with just that one goal to show for it against Man Utd.
Two sub appearances and one start since November kind of sum up his season.
My intention isn’t to character assassinate Yosinori Muto and like any other Newcastle player, I hope he comes good.
However, I can’t see it happening.
He has the classic profile of a signing Rafa Benitez has been forced into by Mike Ashley’s ridiculous constraints.
Not allowed to go for the targets he really wants, Rafa has to do his best with the money available, so that he has a squad/options of some description.
The signings of Dubravka, Schar, Fernandez and Lejeune tell you that it is still possible to find relative bargains in defensive positions.
However, when it comes to creative and goalscoring, it is a different story.
You have to pay realistic prices for certain positions, or else you are doomed to struggle.
Last summer, despite selling the likes of Mitrovic for £22m (rising to £27m), Rafa Benitez wasn’t allowed to buy Salomon Rondon for his £16.5m buyout clause, or indeed even put in any offer to buy the striker. Instead, he was only allowed to negotiate a loan a deal and even that included Rafa having to let Gayle go in the opposite direction.
Likewise, there was no move allowed for Miguel Almiron who Rafa Benitez had wanted for some time, the Paraguayan belatedly arriving on the final day of the January window. Obviously, the NUFC manager wasn’t allowed to shop either for any similarly priced attacking/creative players.
The net result is that he then had to shop around for a striker who he would be allowed to buy, which when you are shopping at below the £10m mark, your options are severely limited.
Yoshinori Muto had only played in 30 league matches over the previous two seasons and this was at a very average Mainz side that had finished fourth bottom and fifth bottom of the Bundesliga.
For a striker who had only scored 20 league goals in three years in Germany, the odds were surely stacked against Muto being a big success in the Premier League.
What choice did Rafa have though, he needed somebody and so had to buy a striker even if he thought it would be a longshot.
The trouble you get when buying such players is there is a far bigger choice of failure and as happened when we ended up with Joselu as Mike Ashley only allowed him £5m for a striker the previous summer, your squad starts filling up with players who aren’t good enough.
The sensible thing for me last summer would have been if Rafa Benitez had been allowed to buy Salomon Rondon for the £16.5m buyout clause early in the summer, keep Dwight Gayle as well as probably Ayoze Perez, sell Joselu and not buy Muto, then either buy another striker or use up the second loan spot from an English club that ended up being used for Rondon.
You never move on when you end up having to buy players who are no better than you have already.
Instead of Manquillo for example, Rafa Benitez should have been backed to buy a player better than DeAndre Yedlin and have the two compete for the position, rather than having a bargain buy as cover who is never going to be a first teamer.
Only allowing enough money for players to try and get through another season is Mike Ashley’s ‘strategy’ and it is a fatally flawed one.
It needs to change or else we will end up with plenty more Manquillos, Joselus & Mutos and no Rafa.
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