Emerging Samurai Blue star Muto linked to Chelsea

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have reached an agreement with on a record-setting fee for striker Football Channel  reported on Monday.

The 22-year-old, who scored 13 goals last year in his rookie J-League campaign, made an immediate impression on then-Japan coach Javier Aguirre and earned a debut call-up in September. Muto has since become a regular part of the Samurai Blue squad, including four appearances in their Asian Cup campaign.

But with just 11 caps to his name, it’s unclear as to whether the player will be able to secure the required UK work permit immediately or if Chelsea will be required to loan him to another club.

According to the report, the undisclosed transfer fee would be a record payout from a European club to an Asian club for an Asian player.

The news comes just one month after the 2012 European champions signed a $300 million shirt sponsorship deal with Japanese companies Yokohama Rubber, leading some local media to speculate that Muto’s signing could be part of the agreement.

In a press conference held last week, Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho hinted that his side, minus players competing in the 2015 Copa America, could visit Japan at the end of May if they clinch the Premier League title. With seven rounds remaining and a game in hand, the London club are currently seven points ahead of their nearest rivals Arsenal.

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