2015 was a big year for Korea’s two footballing superstars with Ki Sung-Yueng and Son Heung-Min both impressing in Europe.
Ki Sung-Yeung, whose move to Swansea City back in 2012 was at that time their most expensive transfer, showed why he was worth the six million pound fee. His form over the 2014-5 season was remarkable with Ki scoring eight times and winning Swansea’s player of the season award. When Ki originally joined Swansea, he was a key member of the side and showed his versatility when playing as a centre-back during Swansea City’s League Cup final win over Bradford. However, despite helping Swansea win the first major trophy in their history, Ki lost his place in the side to new signing Jose Canas. Impressing on a season-long loan to Sunderland, Ki won back his place in the Swans’ midfield. He started the season with a bang, scoring the opening goal in a 2-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford. He scored again against United later that season during a great run of form in February and March. Ki played in almost every game that he was available for Swansea, only missing games when he was away with the national team for the Asian Cup. He also impressed in that tournament, being named in the competition’s best eleven as he helped Korea reach the Asian Cup final.
Ki’s impressive form was slightly overshadowed by countryman Son Heung-Min who won the 2015 Asian International Player-of-the-Year award (an award given by the AFC for the best Asian player currently playing outside of Asia) and becoming the most expensive Asian footballer ever with his big money move from Bayer Leverkusen to Tottenham Hotspur. His move to the North London side came off the back of two impressive seasons at Bayer Leverkusen. He scored eleven times for the German side last season, including a hat-trick against Wolfsburg in February. During the summer, there was speculation about which English club he would end up at, but Son eventually signed for Tottenham Hotspur for twenty-two million pounds. He immediately settled into life at White Hart Lane, scoring three times in September including his first league goal against London rivals Crystal Palace. Although injury hit both Son Heung-Min and Ki Sung-Yeung at the start of the 2015-6 season, they are both back in their respective teams now and are looking forward to having a strong 2016.
by Steve Price