Chelsea have lost out in the battle to capture the signature of promising Japanese forward Yoshinori Muto, with the player now set to put pen to paper with German club FC Mainz.
That’s according to the Daily Telegraph, who speculate that Muto has turned down the chance to move to Stamford Bridge due to concerns over the opportunities to play regular first-team football.
Earlier this month it was confirmed that Muto was in two minds over whether or not to join the Blues, who are said to have put in a bid to his club, FC Tokyo, of around £3.7 million in March. The 22-year-old scored 13 goals last season in the J-League and is considered one of the hottest prospects in Asian football.
However it appears that he won’t be gracing the Premier League anytime soon. It’s been claimed that not only did he harbour worries that he wouldn’t be able to get into Jose Mourinho’s first-team, but that he was concerned work-permit difficulties could prevent him from featuring in England anyway.
Thus the safer option is Mainz, who already have Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki performing well in their ranks. Muto is apparently set to reveal his plans for the future on Thursday, though leaked rumours from his home country may well have the situation well sussed.
It wouldn’t be the first time Chelsea have missed out on a prodigal talent due to their reputation of being serial loaners. The Blues currently have more than 20 players plying their trade on temporary contracts elsewhere and only in January did now-Leicester City striker Andrej Kramaric opt to turn them down for fear of not getting game-time.
Issues with the system?
Missing out on players like Muto won’t be of any immediate concern to Mourinho of course, who confirmed earlier this year that deals like the one which saw Chelsea strike their largest ever commercial agreement with Japanese tyre firm Yokohama Rubber Company would probably have an impact upon his transfer plans.
That’s not to say though that in the long run it won’t prove costly. Twice now in the space of less than five months have the Blues been denied a target simply because of the fact that they’ve garnered a reputation for being a notoriously difficult place to thrive as a youngster, though of course their status as a superpower in England is sure to continue to bag them the most promising starlets available.
Chelsea fans, what do you make of Muto’s supposed snub? Let us know in the comments box below.
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