Newcastle United agree £9.5m fee with Mainz for striker Yoshinori Muto

• Fast-paced Japan forward played in one game at World Cup
• Defender Fabian Schär completes £3m move to St James’ Park

Yoshinori Muto is set to add electric pace to Rafael Benítez’s frontline after Newcastle United agreed to sign the Japan striker from Mainz for £9.5m. The 26-year-old spent Thursday flying from Tokyo to Tyneside for a medical and is expected to become Benítez’s fifth summer signing.

The Switzerland centre-half Fabian Schär was confirmed as Newcastle’s fourth close-season recruit after completing a £3m move from Deportivo de La Coruña and should shortly be joined by a player who scored eight goals for Mainz last season as they narrowly avoided relegation from the Bundesliga.

Muto was part of Japan’s World Cup squad but made only one appearance – in the 1-0 Group H defeat by Poland. In contrast, Schär, who is also 26 and has signed a three-year contract with Newcastle, impressed during Switzerland’s opening three World Cup games before missing their last-16 loss to Sweden through suspension.

“I’m really happy to be here,” said Schär, who has been capped 42 times by his country. “Newcastle is a really big club for me. It has a big name and it is a brilliant chance.

“I’m not like a typical defender. I, of course, defend, but I’m quite good with the ball. I like to play, I want to build up the game from behind, and I think that is a strength of mine. I have also scored some headers – that could also be a strength and hopefully I can use it here. I just want to get started.”

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Benítez, who continues to pursue the £16.5m West Bromwich Albion striker Salomón Rondón, remains concerned about the club’s comparatively modest summer spending but was, nonetheless, delighted to see his board capitalise on Deportivo de La Coruña’s relegation from La Liga by triggering the release clause in Schär’s contract.

“I’m really pleased to welcome Fabian to Newcastle United,” said Benítez. “He did well in the World Cup and has great experience. He adds competition in this position and that is a positive for the team.”

Earlier this summer Benítez welcomed the goalkeeper Martin Dubravka from Sparta Prague for £4.5m, the former Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng on a free transfer and the Chelsea loanee Kenedy. After being instructed he would need to sell to buy, the Spaniard has off-loaded Mikel Merino to Real Sociedad for £10m, Chancel Mbemba to Porto for £8m and Jack Colback to Nottingham Forest on a season-long loan. The goalkeeper Matz Sels has been sold to Strasbourg for a fee of £4m.

Benítez – who has declined to extend a managerial contract now entering its final year – also hopes to sell the Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to Fulham but the London club is balking at the £20m asking price.


Louise Taylor

The GuardianTramp

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