In the closing months of the season there had been a lot of talk about Chelsea following up their landmark sponsorship deal with Yokohama Rubber by signing their first-ever Japanese player. The target? Yoshinori Muto, who publicly acknowledged that the Blues had come calling. But as time went by it became increasingly obvious that it wasn't going to be the best fit -- Muto wanted a chance to make an immediate impact, and 22-year-old wingers with no experience outside the J-League aren't going to do that very often.
Mainz, who finished 11th in the Bundesliga this season, seemed an infinitely more reasonable landing spot for Muto, and now the move is officially wrapped up:
Good for Mainz, good for Muto. If he turns into a star I'm sure we'll regret not picking him up now, but a move to Chelsea didn't really feel right for anyone here.