Mainz have announced the signing of Japan striker Yoshinori Muto on a four-deal from FC Tokyo. The Premier League champions offered FC Tokyo £4m for Muto, 22, but the Japan international has opted for the Bundesliga. Muto is reported to have rejected the chance to join Chelsea because of fears over a lack of regular game-time. Jose Mourinho previously suggested that his side were keen to have the striker because of ‘commercial interests’.
“That’s modern football,” the Blue boss said. “That’s modern management. You cannot close completely the door to commercial interests.”
Previously, in March, the Premier League champions-in-waiting made an offer to his J. League club almost, and he needed about a month to weigh the decision. “Four goals in five games is a good start, but I’m not satisfied with that, and I want to improve myself,” he said of his first handful of J1 games this season. “If I can get the ratio to more than a goal a game, then I will be able to become a better player, so that’s what I’m aiming for.”
The 22-year-old scored 13 goals in 33 matches for FC Tokyo in his first season to equal a newcomers’ record in the J-League. He has been capped 11 times by Japan and scored his first international goal in September during a match against Venezuela. Muto will join Shinji Okazaki at Mainz, who finished 11th this season.
“His potential was amazing, I didn’t see for a long time such an intelligent player like Muto,” Popovic, who is now managing Real Zaragoza, told Bleacher Report. “He’s a different guy, he’s not such a usual player.
While Chelsea just missed their chance, the Bundesliga side is likely to be so delighted with the striker’s signing. “We have been convinced for a long time that Yoshinori Muto can have the qualities to reinforce our attack and that is why we were so insistent in our negotiations with FC Tokyo,” said Mainz sporting director Christian Heidel.
Mainz head coach Martin Schmidt is also looking forward to welcoming the striker to the club, where he will play alongside his international team-mate Shinji Okazaki. “We spent a long time watching Yoshinori Muto because we’re certain he’ll fit in at Mainz and with our style of play,” Martin Schmidt said. “He’s a quick, agile and technically gifted forward who can play out wide, and he’ll bring us added qualities in those positions.”