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Newcastle announces signing of Japanese striker Muto


xxx during the international friendly match between Japan and Paraguay at Tivoli Stadion on June 12, 2018 in Innsbruck, Austria.

Masahiro Ura

Rafa Benitez finally has the attacking threat he’s been begging for all summer.

Newcastle United announced Friday they have completed the transfer of Japanese international Yoshinori Muto.

The 26-year-old arrives from Bundesliga side FC Mainz where he joined in the summer of 2015 from J-League team FC Tokyo. Muto made 72 appearances for the German club across all competitions, scoring 23 goals and assisting 11 others.

Muto has 25 international caps to his name for Japan, riding the bench for most of the 2018 World Cup aside from a start in the final group stage match against Poland where he played 82 minutes without scoring or assisting a goal as Japan fell 1-0 to Poland.

According to the Newcastle Chronicle, the Magpies have forked out $12.5 million for the transfer, which is subject to receipt of a work permit.

To this point in the summer window, Newcastle had secured the services of center-back Fabian Schar, midfielder Ki Seung-young, and goalkeeper Martin Dubravkia. Still, Benitez was desperate to add to the attacking ranks, with little support for star Ayoze Perez. The acquisition of Muto likely eases the fears of allowing want-away striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to leave, with Fulham in pursuit.

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