Japanese forward Yoshinori Muto has no regrets about choosing German side Mainz over English champions Chelsea and says playing in the Bundesliga is a fast-track to becoming a world class striker.
The 22-year-old had been on Chelsea's shopping list earlier this year but with a host of big names already cooling their heels on the sidelines at Stamford Bridge, Muto said he wanted to play somewhere that would allow him to develop.
Unveiled by his new club on Thursday after a reported 470 million yen (S$5.24 million) transfer from FC Tokyo, Muto wasted little time in winning over the German media. "I'll try to integrate into the team as soon as I can and will do my best for Mainz," he said in German at the start of a news conference to cheers from reporters.
Continuing in Japanese, Muto added that he had spoken in depth about the club with Shinji Okazaki, who played at Mainz for two seasons before joining English side Leicester City in June.
"The German first division is one of the best leagues in the world. I can face remarkable players from across the globe and it will help me develop," he was quoted as saying by Japan's Kyodo News. "I want to perform and become a world-class player, and performing in Germany is the fastest path.
"I felt my decision to join this club was right. I've heard (from Okazaki) the club is loved by supporters and the team is comprised of wonderful members. He told me to give it my all."
While Muto hopes one day to emulate compatriot Okazaki's journey from Japan to Germany and then to England, he said he is no rush to join the Premier League.
"The Premier League is a great league, but I'm not ready to play for Chelsea yet," he added. "I don't want to hurry myself and want to develop steadily."