Reports have today surfaced that Chelsea are looking to bolster their lightweight striker department with a shock move for Japanese goal ace Yoshinori Muto.
The Tokyo FC star is the subject of a £4m bid from the Blues, who have been impressed by his Asian Cup performances for Japan, as well as the blistering start he has made to the current J-League campaign.
Runaway leaders at the top of the Premier League, Chelsea are 9/25 to move one win closer to the title at QPR next, though they’ll have to do so without mainline goal-getter Diego Costa.
The Spanish frontman’s fabled hamstrings will cause him to miss the short trip to Loftus Road and it’s his injury-proneness that has prompted Jose Mourinho to examine the possibility of bolstering his resources in the final third.
Muto, not to be confused with disgraced Romanian forward Adrian Mutu who played at Stamford Bridge between 2003 and 2005, is seen as a potential ancillary option to the oft-crocked Costa and will likely share the support role with Loic Remy.
Owing to Didier Drogba’s old age, it’s widely expected that he won’t be retained by the champions-to-be, meaning Muto could well be his intended replacement.
Undoubtedly the potential recruitment of the 22-year-old also has financial motivation, with the fiscal masterminds who mind the Chelsea mint surely eager to milk some shirt-sale money out of the profitable Far Eastern market.
The striker’s goal record, however, suggest capital gains are not the only force driving this surprise transfer scheme.
In 37 starts for FC Tokyo, Muto has rustled the net on 16 occasions, including three in his four outings this season.
Such antics were rewarded with a call up to the national side by coach Vahid Halilhodzic for January’s Asian Cup.
He was unable to augment his tally of one strike in Japan blue during the tournament, but he was used largely as a substitute and his minutes on the pitch totalled just 117.
It’s a role he’s sure to assume at the Bridge, so improving his ability to bag when emerging from the bench is sure to be pivotal in how successful he is in west London.