Chelsea have made a bid for the Tokyo and Japan forward Yoshinori Muto which is believed to be worth £4m. The move comes as the club plan a week-long post-season tour to Japan, in conjunction with their new shirt sponsor, Yokohama Rubber.
“It is true that Chelsea sent us an offer for Muto,” Naoki Ogane, the Tokyo president, told Sports Nippon. “It is a formal offer with conditions. They want to acquire him in the summer.”
Muto has been quoted in Japan as saying that he is yet to make up his mind over whether to sign for Chelsea. “I have not decided yet at all,” he said. “It is an honour for me to receive this offer from a great club.”
Muto, 22, has 11 caps for Japan and he played for them during the run to the quarter-finals of the Asia Cup. Quick and skilful, he can play off either flank or as a second striker and he has impressed in the J-League, scoring 13 goals last season – his first as a professional – and three more so far this time round. He has an economics degree from Keio University, one of the leading educational establishments in Japan, graduating only two weeks ago.
Chelsea announced the £40m-a-year partnership with Yokohama Rubber – a Japanese tyre manufacturer – in February and José Mourinho has said that they are considering a tour to Japan after the final game of the season, at home to Sunderland on 24 May.
Were Muto to be on board by then, the media attention and excitement would be increased further. Only six Japanese players have played in the Premier League – Junichi Inamoto, Kazuyuki Toda, Hidetoshi Nakata, Ryo Miyaichi, Shinji Kagawa and Maya Yoshida.