Osako, Muto ready to push Kobe to new heights
Written by tokyoclub on August 22, 2021
Forwards Yuya Osako and Yoshinori Muto promised on Sunday to deliver for Vissel Kobe as the pair returned from European clubs to the J-League first division.
Japan international Osako left relegated Werder Bremen in the German Bundesliga, while Muto is looking to rekindle his career after three underwhelming seasons with English Premier League club Newcastle United.
Yoshinori Muto (3rd from L) holds a Vissel Kobe shirt with the club’s chairman Hiroshi Mikitani while Bojan Krkic (L) and Yuya Osako (R) are pictured on screens taking part online at a press conference in Tokyo on Aug. 22, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Vissel Kobe) (Kyodo)
“I had many options, but as a forward my desire was pure, to once more keep getting goals that contribute to team wins,” Osako, a 31-year-old who has 23 goals in 49 games for Japan, told an online press conference.
“Because it’s Kobe, winning titles is a possibility, and I want to achieve something by giving all I have.”
The pair are joined by former Barcelona prodigy Bojan Krkic in attack, and the 30-year-old will be reunited with Andres Iniesta, as Vissel look to fill the void left by Kyogo Furuhashi. The new Celtic sensation scored 15 goals before his departure and remains the J1’s top scorer.
Muto has already shown what he is capable of. He came on at halftime and set up the winner on Saturday against Kashima Antlers, using the outside of his right foot to send a perfectly weighted ball for Hotaru Yamaguchi to tap in.
“I’m excited to be back in Japan after six years overseas and this is my first step toward developing further,” the 29-year-old said. “I’ll try to produce good numbers in terms of goals and assists, and become a goal-scoring machine.”
Osako left Kashima Antlers in January 2014 for 1860 Munich, then in the German second-division, before playing for Cologne and Bremen.
Muto last played in the J-League for FC Tokyo in 2015 before joining Mainz, where he played with Bojan in 2017. Muto spent the second half of the past season on loan at Spanish side Eibar.