Steve Bruce Provides Update on Yoshinori Muto's Lack of Playing Time

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has offered an explanation for the lack of game time given to Japanese international Yoshinori Muto.

Muto, who arrived from Bundesliga side Mainz in 2018 for an estimated £9m fee, has made just two Premier League starts for the Magpies this season.

Muto has endured a tough spell at Newcastle

Speaking after his side's goalless draw against Brighton, Bruce said (via The Sheilds Gazette): “Look, I’ll sit down with Muto. He hasn’t had the best of times under me, gamewise.

“He’s a great pro, trains well, so I’ve got no problem with him. No issues, it’s just that we have forward players at the minute who are ahead of him.”

The 28-year old has played just 208 minutes in the league this season, and only six minutes since the restart, with manager Bruce making it clear that Joelinton, Andy Carroll, and Dwight Gayle are ahead of him in the pecking order.

Despite a tough opening season, Steve Bruce has shown faith in Joelinton this season

Muto had a slightly more enjoyable time under previous manager Rafa Benitez, making 17 appearances and scoring once.

The Japanese forward's future at St. James' Park could depend on whether a £300m takeover from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund goes through.

The proposed takeover, which has stalled over a broadcasting rights ban in Saudi Arabia, would see the northern club backed with the cash injection that current owner Mike Ashley has been reluctant to provide.

Should the deal be completed, the Magpies could be set to heavily invest in their front line, having scored only 37 goals all season - only Watford, Crystal Palace, and Norwich City have scored fewer.

Newcastle haven't scored many goals this season

One name that has been mentioned as a potential target for Steve Bruce's side is Lazio forward Ciro Immobile.

The former Borussia Dortmund man currently leads the Serie A Golden Boot race with 30 goals - level with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Other forwards that have been linked with Newcastle include Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha, and Dutchman Wout Weghorst.

Source : 90min