Benitez hails Yoshinori Muto, confirms deal is just one step away

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez looks on during a pre-season friendly match between Hull City and Newcastle United at KCOM Stadium on July 24, 2018 in Hull, England.

Newcastle United are set to sign Mainz forward Yoshinori Muto.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez looks on during a pre-season friendly match between Hull City and Newcastle United at KCOM Stadium on July 24, 2018 in Hull, England.

Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez has told The Chronicle that a deal for Mainz forward Yoshinori Muto is 'done' and only awaiting a work permit, adding that he doesn't see any problem with him.

The Magpies drew 0-0 against Porto on Saturday night as they continue their preparations for the new Premier League season, with the opening game against Tottenham Hotspur just a fortnight away.

Benitez has been largely frustrated in the transfer market this summer, but has brought back loanees Martin Dubravka and Kenedy, with Dubravka arriving permanently this time, whilst Fabian Schar and Ki Sung-yueng have arrived in bargain deals.

Benitez has been desperate for a striker though, and reports earlier this week suggested that a deal for Mainz forward Yoshinori Muto was close, before the Bundesliga club announced talks were progressing well.

Newcastle announced on Friday that a deal has now been agreed, but the Magpies still need to land Muto a work permit in order to finalise the move, meaning they face a little wait yet.

Muto, 26, hit eight goals in 27 Bundesliga games last season, and featured for Japan at this summer's World Cup in Russia, having proven himself as a versatile forward in Germany.

Clever enough to play off a striker but quick enough to run in behind, Muto can be used in a number of ways by Benitez, who spoke about the move on Saturday night.

Yoshinori Muto of Japan kicks the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group H match between Japan and Poland at Volgograd Arena on June 28, 2018 in Volgograd, Russia.

Benitez confirmed to The Chronicle that the deal being official is just one step away with the work permit application ongoing, but added his praise for Muto, suggesting that he doesn't see any problem with him as he has quality, energy, movement and intensity.

“Muto is done but it’s just waiting for the work permit. He played in the World Cup in a good team,” said Benitez. “He has done well in the Bundesliga so we are talking about a striker that is doing well in the last few years at international level.”

“He has quality and can bring us energy and good movement plus the intensity you need. I don’t see any problem with him,” he added.

Mainz' Japanese striker Yoshinori Muto celebrates scoring the 2-0 during the German first division Bundesliga football match 1 FSV Mainz 05 vs Hannover 96 in Mainz, Germany, on August 29,...

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