It may have made plenty of sense for Chelsea get a foot in the door of Japanese football -- not to mention creating a bit of marketing synergy with our brand new Japanese shirt sponsor Yokohama -- but as far as most 22-year-old developing players are concerned, stepping up to the challenge at Chelsea may not be the safest course of action. And so it is for Yoshinori Muto, who is now set to reject Chelsea after mulling over our generous five-year contract offer for the last month.
The report cites the aforementioned playing time concerns, plus the fact that Mainz (and the Bundesliga in general) have been happy hunting grounds from Japanese players in recent years. Striker Shinji Okazaki has had good success, for example, exactly at Mainz over the last two seasons.
Nothing's set or written in stone at this point of course. But this transfer is not looking as likely as it had been over the past few weeks all of a sudden.