Newcastle United appear to have sealed their Premier League safety for another year, with a number of players having stood out for the Magpies.
One man who has really disappointed this season though is Yoshinori Muto, who arrived last summer at St. James’ Park in a £9.5 million deal from Bundesliga club Mainz (BBC Sport).
His capture was deemed good business at the time, with many branding him a bargain signing.
But with only a handful of games left to play this season, Muto is still yet to convince fans of his worth.
The Japan international has made only 14 appearances for the club, only five of which have been starts – his last coming on Boxing Day against Liverpool.
He is seemingly yet to earn the trust of manager Rafa Benitez, who prefers other attacking options such as Salomon Rondon, Ayoze Perez, club-record signing Miguel Almiron and even Joselu.
There are never any guarantees when it comes to Newcastle and the transfer market, so there is a chance that Rondon will not be signed permanently next season.
The Venezuelan – as good as he has been – does not fit owner Mike Ashley’s policy of signing younger players with sell-on value, and may not be around next term.
That could perhaps open the door for Muto, as could a possible sale of Ayoze Perez – the Spaniard has been linked with Napoli and Real Sociedad recently (Chronicle Live).
Muto certainly needs a break – his time with the Toon Army so far has been very disappointing. But 2019/2020 could be his time to shine.
23 goals and 11 assists in 72 games for Mainz suggests there is a player in there, and Newcastle will hope the man they thought they signed comes good.