Suk Hyunjun to FC Porto all but confirmed

Quick update to get something out there: if you haven’t been following our twitter feed, you won’t have noticed the big news of the day – Suk Hyunjun, the Korean national team centre forward who plies his trade for Vitoria de Setubal in the Portuguese top division, is expected to transfer to FC Porto this week. He will play his final game for his current club tomorrow against Sporting Clube de Portugal (aka Sporting Lisbon) before beginning training for FC Porto on Thursday, the Record and O Jogo report. Football List Korea expects a 5 year contract.

Suk Hyunjun

The 190 cm (6 ft 3) striker has found his stride this season for Vitoria de Setubal, scoring 11 goals in 19 appearances across all competitions for Quim Machado’s side, bolting him into third position on the scoring table. Suk made his Korean national team return against Laos on the 3rd of September of last year and has scored twice for the Taeguk Warriors in 6 appearances.

Suk’s strength is an asset which Korean players rarely boast as well as a powerful shot, his goal against his Academica de Coimbra being a prominent example of his deadly right foot accuracy. Despite his tall frame, Suk is less of a stereotypical centre forward and more of a player who tries to beat defenders by cutting in and firing in behind.

The 24 year old’s journey in football has been a long one -after travelling to the Netherlands in search of a new club, he met Martin Jol, asked for a trial, was granted a trial at Ajax in 2009 and signed a 2 1/2 year contract. His story is somewhat legendary in the Netherlands for its unorthodox nature and the journeyman-footballer aura it exudes. He later went to FC Groningen. In 2013 he got his first taste of Portuguese football, playing for Maritimo, but he transferred to Al-Ahli Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia, the follow season. After a swing at Nacional, he made the move to Vitoria de Setubal in January of last year. He has had immediate success there, scoring 16 goals in 40 appearances and helping them place in Europa League position at the 2015 winter break.

Suk’s transfer fee is expected to be around 1.5 million euros (1.6 million dollars US). He will have to challenge Cameroonian striker Vincent Aboubakar for starts, but given their participation in the Taça de Liga (League Cup), Taça de Portugal (FA Cup), Europa League vs Dortmund as well as the Liga NOS, there is sure to be time for Suk to start. It will be interesting to see if he will be expected to shift his game by playing with his back to goal in a more classic CF role against more dense, rigid defenses than the ones he faced with Vitoria.

Although the rumours seem quite convincing, there is no official confirmation of the deal. Portugal’s other top clubs, Bundesliga clubs and Celtic are all rumoured to have interest in Suk. Regardless of if this deal falls through, he most likely will be playing at a higher level come the end of the transfer window and it remains to be seen if he can perform among a higher tier of European players. If he succeeds, it can only be positive for his career, for the Olympic team (should they progress to Rio 2016, which is far from guaranteed) and the Korean national team.

Suk is expected to play for the Olympic team as an overage player because he does not yet have exemption from service in the Korean army, which is mandatory for all Korean men for a 21-month period between 18 and 35 years old. Exemption can be earned with winning an Asian Games gold medal or a medal of any color in the Olympic Games. If Suk continues in his current form, and because of the U-23 team’s centre forward uncertainties, there is no doubt he would be given that chance at exemption should the Korean team qualify later this month.

The 2012 Olympic team, the 2014 Asian Games team as well as the 2002 World Cup team all earned military exemption (the latter was a special exemption that was extraordinarily granted by the then Korean president).

Do you believe Suk’s transfer to Porto makes sense for him? Can he get a fair amount of starts and will he be able to perform at a higher level? Let’s get a conversation going. Leave your thoughts below in the comments section.

Thank you to @junhosix and @Takeuchee on Twitter for their contributions to this report… always good to have people more in-the-know to help out

About Tim Lee 239 Articles
The maple syrup guzzling kimchijjigae craving Korean-Canadian, eh?

8 Comments

  1. For some reason, Suk Hyun-Jun reminds me of Seol Ki-Hyeon. The way he moves, takes shots, and even his haircut…
    KNT needs player like Suk to lead the front line. I think move to Porto would make solidify his spot in the KNT, hopefully as a starter. Porto move would also improve his KNT form. I can tell that he’s not used to playing against opponents that defends with almost all eleven men behind the ball. He will be in a similar situation if he goes to Porto. Time will tell if he can play against defensive minded teams.

  2. For some reason I fear this move (should it come true) will be similar to Park Chu-young’s move to Arsenal. Admittedly I haven’t watched Suk Hyun-jun with Vitoria, but from his NT performances, I don’t think he’s good enough to be a regular with Porto. Granted Porto doesn’t have the attacking talent they’ve had in the past, but I still struggle to see him become a regular. I fear he’ll become a bench player who only plays sporadically, and his NT form/call up ability becomes iffy.

    However, if it does work out, it would be a great move. Porto has developed/selected a number of fantastic center forwards, so maybe Suk could become another in the line? Also Porto is a regular in the Champions League, so he could get that also.

      • Maybe not the regular starting spot, but slowly he should be able to find his groove and squeeze his way into a sub-a-game type player and also as a starter in cup matches and Europa league, depending on Porto’s position in the league table. I think this is good for him, when he was younger he still had opportunities at Ajax playing against bigger clubs like Chelsea so he shouldn’t be too phased out by it.

    • Good point. however I think Park Chuyoung’s “failure” at Arsenal shouldn’t discourage others from joining big clubs. Suk’s been very good so far this season in Liga NOS; everyone’s talking about his 9 goals in the league (only Jonas; 15 goals and Slimani; 12 goals are ahead of him), but they’re forgetting the fact that Suk also has 7 assists to his name (behind Gaitan; 8 assists and Jonas; 8 assists).

      Suk’s goals/match ratio is very impressive too; 0.56 goals/game. Suk also plays for an average club; other top-scorers play for powerhouses such as Benfica and Sporting, they obviously have had more goal scoring opportunities.

      Suk’s only started playing regular first-team football with Vitoria (since last season), prior to that (with Ajax, Groningen, Al-Ahli and Nacional) he was mostly used as a sub player.

      I think now that Vitoria have given him so much playing time, we are starting to see Suk’s full potential. I believe people grow into their roles; no one is truly born with their abilities.

      I think Porto have a good reason to pursue Suk, he’s a proven player in the league and Porto lack a forward that can move behind opponents’ back line (Brahimi and Tello have been poor this season). The only CF they have is Aboubakar and he’s a big CF that likes to play with opponents behind him, not in front of him. Suk can definitely add another dimension to the Porto’s attack.

      • I agree that the PCY/Arsenal debacle shouldn’t dissuade others from pursuing big moves, and to be honest Porto and Arsenal are different levels in terms of the exposure and have different pressures. If Porto does come calling, then Suk HJ should take the chance because it might not come again for him.

        That being said, I still wonder about his chances for success. Porto isn’t a club where patience and gradual bedding in happens. And given the situation (new coach, chasing Sporting/keeping ahead of Benfica) the fans and club will be looking for immediate results. If he does move to Porto, a summer move would probably be better than a winter one.

        • you cant compare porto to arsenal, however you shouldn’t underestimate porto’s reputation in the world of fooball. As one of the most succesful clubs in portugal, they already have 2 european titles and as well as numerous uefa cup and cup winners cup titles. (Arsenal have only won one cup winners cup back in 1994). Going back to the Suk story, im sure Suk will think about it very carefully, hes no spring chicken when it comes to transfers.

          If suk does join porto, i hope he will prove his doubters wrong and do what hes been doing with vitoria; scoring and setting up goals. Also you have rememeber that the scouts at porto rarely get it wrong; im sure they see him as a player who will add depth to the current squad. Its suk’s time to shine!

          Should be interesting to see where Suk ends up (;

  3. He now officially signed for Porto. Despite being still fairly young (24 years old), and having been only half a season successful at Vitoria Setubal, I still believe he can still have an impact on the team due to the current context. Unlike other seasons, FC Porto is severely lacking quality in the striker department, and that factor could grant him more time to get acclimated than in normal circumstances. However, as a club used to success, his opportunities will be slim and he will to adjust and score goals pretty fast if he wants to get playtime.

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