Newcastle United are in the hunt to sign Mainz and Japan centre-forward Yoshinori Muto, according to a report.
German news outlet Kicker claims that Bundesliga strugglers Mainz have been approached a number of times with enquiries about Muto, 25, with him dreaming of making a switch to the Premier League in the summer after seeing the success of Shinji Okazaki at Leicester.
It is understood that Muto would cost the Magpies, or anyone who wants to sign him, more than the £2.5million that Mainz paid for the 21-times Japan international when he moved from FC Tokyo in 2015.
Muto has made 26 appearances in all competitions for the relegation-threatened German club, scoring nine goals and supplying three assists.
Newcastle are said to have scouted the Japanese forward, who can also play in the wide positions are in the No 10 role.
Football Insider verdict
Muto seems like the kind of player who would perform better when surrounded by better players. Mainz are punching above their weight in Germany and that is largely down the the Japanese forward. His goal scoring record is not eye-catching but he can play in other positions and signing a Japanese player could have a massive financial benefit for the Magpies down the line, especially if he performs well for Japan in the World Cup. Muto does not seem like someone who would cost a lot and that is perfect for Newcastle, who are by no means expected to splash the cash if Mike Ashley remains in the boardroom.
In other Newcastle United news, this BBC pundit has slammed a “honking” Magpies star for his international performance.