Newcastle United under-21s boss Elliott Dickman is unsure if Santiago Munoz will remain on Tyneside beyond the end of the year when the Mexican forward’s loan spell from Santos Laguna expires. The Magpies have the option to sign the 20-year-old permanently, however Munoz hasn’t played a game since August after undergoing hernia surgery.
Munoz’s arrival in August last year sparked a huge amount of interest in the United fanbase with his name reminiscent of Santiago Munez, the main character in the popular film series GOAL!. However, unlike the fictional star, Munoz has struggled to live up to the excitement.
While he’s trained with Eddie Howe’s first team, even travelling to Portugal with the squad in pre-season, he’s made just one senior appearance which came as a late substitute in a recent friendly against Athletic Bilbao at St James’ Park.
Injury forced Munoz to wait almost seven months before making his first under-21s start in March, and another spell on the sidelines at the beginning of this campaign has arguably reduced his chances of earning a permanent deal on Tyneside.
It seems increasingly likely Munoz will return to Mexico, however Dickman, speaking after Monday’s 1-1 draw with Sunderland, insists a decision is yet to be made on the player’s future. He said: “Santi’s injured, he’s in the hands of the medical team. In terms of what the next stages are for Santi, I’ll be honest with you, I really don’t know. I’m sure once the decision has been made somebody will let people know.
“At this moment in time, the main focus is getting Santi fit and getting him back on the grass and getting him involved in games. We’ll see what happens.” Dickman’s youngsters have seven games left to play between now and the end of the year.