January 31, 2013
A bit of transfer news to relay and some transfer rumors still lingering out there. With the transfer window closing up later today, we await the outcome of these increasingly unlikely transfers -but there may still be surprises in store.
Earlier this morning the final, official, can’t turn back, no-doubt-about-it confirmation that QPR finally signed left back Yun Suk-Young. Several days ago it looked like a close call -his choice between QPR and a last minute matching offer from Fulham just as he arrived in London late last week. His decision seemed to be made when he followed through on a medical with QPR. Today marks the beginning of a 3 and a half year contract with the Rangers for an undisclosed fee to Chunam Dragons. He becomes the 11th Korean to join the ranks of the Premier League (finally found the Tavern Statistician to wring that out of him). He will join fellow countryman Park Ji-Sung to aid in their relegation fight for the rest of the season. He is still awaiting a work visa and then will be eligible to play. Harry Rednapp has been busy trying to strengthen the squad, particularly in defense. They just lost center back Ryan Nelson (who played a quality game on Tuesday in their scoreless draw with Manchester City); he will be moving to Toronto FC to become their head coach – first time I believe something like that has happened to our knowledge, where a key defensive player in the middle of a Premier League season suddenly retires to become a head coach. Harry shipped off (or shall we say temporary got rid of) Anton Ferdinand to Turkish club Bursaspor on loan, and is set on bolstering the backline with Yun and Congolese centerback Christopher Samba from Anzhi Makhachkata. Guus Hiddink confirmed Samba unexpectedly left on a flight to London for a medical with QPR without getting a chance to get in any farewells.
Did I fail to mention QPR drew with Manchester City at Etihad Stadium? Somehow, despite losing in spectacular crash and burn fashion to minnows (i.e. see loss to MK Dons in last Saturday’s 4th round FA Cup), they find a way to be competitive or at least close with the top of the table teams. Park Ji-Sung, who seems to have fallen out of favor with the Loftus Road mob, was an 87th minute substitution in that match – and man did he look noticeably unhappy.
It seems a long ways from his glory days with Manchester United. The season’s not over yet, and because it’ll be all hands on deck, the Tavern expects Harry will need to rely on Park to be a difference maker in the coming months if they are to survive and stay alive in the Premiership this season.
Finally some Yoon Bit-Garam transfer news to report, except that it’s still not 100% clear whether a deal will be made in time. A Portuguese blog indicated in it’s article translated as: “Braga Makes Sprint to Hire Star South Korean.” It was posted yesterday. It goes on to say that there is negotiations underway but there are several ‘bureaucratic issues’ yet to be resolved. Not sure how much stock to take in it, but in the next 24 hours, we’ll see what transpires.
A Tavern reader asked me about any new information on a South Korean international who was on trial at a Polish club earlier this month. I’ll have to admit, this wasn’t on my radar, but I was intrigued about this, so I sent out our Tavern intern to the frozen zone to investigate. Turns out on Monday, Jagiellonia Białystok, a first division Polish club based in Białystok has signed a 3 year deal with 24 year old midfielder Kim Min-Kyun. He transferred in from Fagiano Okayama, a 2nd division J-League side, and was a player for Daegu FC before that. He’s already played 3 preseason games with Jagiellonia. He continues training with the team in Lithuania. That’s right, training camp in Lithuania. It’s ‘mee-kcoo’ freezing time. To get a sense of the cold climate he’s in, check this picture out, courtesy of Polish media WP.PL
That leaves us with our last two down to the wire transfers that could occur by the end of business today. There are no guarantees that anything will come of this, but Lee Chung-Yong (Bolton) and Kim Shin-Wook (Ulsan Hyundai) are still possible candidates for transfers to Premier League clubs.
First, let’s examine Lee’s case for a moment. The Blue Dragon, after suffering a horrific season ending injury last year, has slowly but surely made his way back to Bolton’s starting XI. Unfortunately, Bolton dropped down to the English Championship by the time he really got a chance to return fully from his injury. Unlike Kim Bo-Kyung’s promotion bound Cardiff City team (the Welsh side have a seemingly unbeatable lead in first place), Bolton has been bogged down somewhere between the bottom and mid table all season. It seemed exciting then to hear news that teams like Stoke City and Liverpool were interested in securing the talents of the South Korean international before the window closed. His 5 goals for Bolton, including an FA Cup goal against Sunderland certainly helped raise his profile in this his ‘recovery year’. However, nothing substantial in terms of actual tangible bids have emerged -so far. That and new-ish manager Dougie Freedman may have scared away potential suitors by ‘leaking’ news about Lee’s screws in his legs that Freedman claims continue to bother Lee. Could that have been a ploy to hold onto the Blue Dragon longer? If so, it may have worked, but obviously to Lee’s detriment. Will Lee continue to grind it out another season in the English Championship in a club far from any hope of promotion back to the Premier League -or will a surprise last minute move propel him back to the big stage?
As posted earlier on the Tavern, Kim Shin-Wook reportedly turned down a move to QPR -possibly as a reaction to Park Ji-Sung getting thrown under the bus in a publicly humiliating way by Rednapp last Saturday. The rumor mills had mentioned Everton as another team expressing interest in the 6’5″ Wookie. Pure speculation on the part of the UK rumor mills? It seems likely at this point. In any event, Kim and the other Asian based national team members have just flown out of Seoul to join Ki Sung-Yeung (who played the last 29 minutes of a scoreless draw with Sunderland on Tuesday), Park Chu-Young, Lee Chung-Yong, Son Heung-Min, Kim Bo-Kyung and Yun Suk-Young in preparations for their friendly against Luka Modric and Croatia on February 6th at Craven Cottage stadium in London. Back to the Wookie, as unlikely as it seems, could a deal be made in London as he recovers from jetlag during this trip? Questions questions and answers forthcoming tomorrow.
In the meantime, someone by the name of Prankster1893 edited last Saturday’s killer goal by Son Heung-Min and gave it the ‘rock star’ treatment. Enjoy! (thanks to BigSoccer.com Koreans Abroad forum, the edited video was a neat find).