Newcastle United entered into a new era in their history in October of last year as Saudi Arabian consortium PIF completed their takeover of the club.
Their purchase resulted in Mike Ashley’s departure from St. James’ Park after 14 years in charge of the Toon after buying the Magpies in 2007.
He endured a difficult time on Tyneside and some supporters gathered outside the stadium to celebrate his exit – or PIF’s takeover, depending on how you want to look at it – in October 2021.
Some of his dealings in the market may have played a part in that and one transfer that the Sports Direct supremo had a shocker with was the signing of Japan international Yoshinori Muto in the summer of 2018.
The Magpies swooped to sign him from German outfit Mainz for a fee in the region of £10m after he had scored eight goals and provided four assists in 27 Bundesliga matches during the 2017/18 campaign.
However, instead of carrying over his attacking threat into the Premier League, he struggled badly in his first season in English football. Muto averaged a dismal SofaScore rating of 6.57 across 17 games as he scored one goal and failed to register an assist, as well as lost 62% of his individual duels.
He then made eight appearances in his second campaign for the Magpies and was unable to contribute with a single goal or assist in the top flight, which shows that he did not offer much in the final third.
This led to Newcastle sanctioning a loan move LaLiga side Eibar for 2020/21, where he managed to score one goal in 26 league outings.
Sky Sports journalist Lyall Thomas described Muto’s three-year spell on Tyneside as “disappointing” and the club eventually decided to terminate his contract, by mutual consent, in the summer of 2021.
They reportedly paid the dud over £5m in wages during his first two seasons at St. James’ Park before going out on loan for the third year, which means that he cost the Magpies a minimum of £15m during his time in England when you add in the transfer fee.
Therefore, Ashley had a shocker with the deal for Muto as he ended up lavishing out at least £15m on a player who only scored one league goal and left on a free transfer. The now Vissel Kobe forward offered very little on the pitch and did not provide value for the money spent on him, which is why the transfer was a flop in the end.