In December I highlighted some of the top K League talents with a shot of making it to Europe in the coming summer. In the last week or so three of them have come true: Cho Gue Sung transferred to FC Midtjylland last week while it has been confirmed by Gangwon FC and Busan I Park that both Yang Hyun Jun and Kwon Hyuk Kyu will be transferring to Celtic to play alongside Oh Hyeon Gyu.
We knew that the 2023 summer transfer window could be one for the ages with Kim Min Jae to Bayern + Lee Kang In to PSG, but i didn’t think that just 2-3 weeks in we would have so much activity already. Even outside of the transfers I’ve mentioned so far, we got Jeong Woo Young Jr. moving from Freiburg to Stuttgart, Kim Ji Soo to Brentford, and it sounds like Napoli is serious about Hwang In Beom, just that Olympiacos is asking a bit too high of a transfer fee. And if we manage to win the Asian Games and unlock military exemption, we’ll probably see even more movement. Anyway, on to the actual transfers:
Yang Hyun Jun
Though this transfer has not been announced by Celtic just yet, it has been confirmed by Gangwon FC that YHJ has signed with Celtic. Yang Hyun Jun already said his farewell to the club in their latest match.
There was a drawn out transfer saga with this one. It was clear that the player wanted to leave, but the club refused to sell him despite a sizeable offer in the region of 2.5 mil euros. The reason was that the club is in danger of relegation. They are currently last place and recently sacked manager Choi Yong Soo in favor of 50 year old veteran manager Yoon Jung Hwan (who has most of his managerial experience in Japan and Thailand with the only K League club he managed being Ulsan Hyundai). Kim Byung Ji even spoke out in public about this drawing even more ire towards him after his comments regarding the KNT managerial position.
Admittedly Yang Hyun Jun has not been in the best form right now. His team is playing very poorly and he has only one goal to his name this season. I figure Celtic know that he has some serious technique though which is why they’re making the signing – also because they lost several players in YHJ’s position such as Jota and Giakoumakis.
Kwon Hyuk Kyu
Another one that has not been confirmed by Celtic but has been confirmed by Busan I’Park. The manager admitted it as well, stating that the player’s wishes and prospects for development come first.
This is a transfer I am extremely happy about – mostly because Kwon is a pretty good defensive midfielder for Korean standards. As I discussed before, Celtic had been interested in Kwon Hyuk Kyu in prior transfer windows but kept getting shut down by Busan I’Park. Kwon even stated publicly that he was hoping to go to Europe but that he respects the club’s wishes.
Will either Yang or Kwon become regulars in the XI for Celtic? I can’t say for sure – maybe Yang Hyun Jun has slightly higher odds but he will need to elevate his game if he is to replace the outgoing wingers. The midfield for Celtic is pretty established between O’Riley Mcgregor and Hatate, and there are several other defensive midfielders like the one from the J league (who got loaned back i believe) and Soro from Portugal. But anything can happen preseason and we’ll see how things go when the League kicks off in early August.
Cho Gue Sung
On 7/11 Midtjylland unveiled the signing of Cho Gue Sung, though it was known that it would happen a few days earlier. A player that has more than 10x the Instagram followers of the club and brought them a nice boost to their follower count as well (if you read into that sort of thing)
There’s a lot of debate going on regarding whether Denmark was the appropriate choice. There is even vitriol aimed at Park Ji Sung right now for reportedly blocking a sexier move to Mainz. Cho Gue Sung came out in support of Park Ji Sung stating that PJS had nothing to do with it and that there was no concrete offer from Mainz or Celtic.
As an aside why does our society always create so much drama and controversy over little things?
My personal opinion is that Denmark is a fantastic place for Cho. He’s not someone who was gonna start for a Bundesliga team. He has a specific skillset but lacks in several others. He is off form. He is just starting out in Europe, a completely different beast from the K League. I really think that a mid-European league like the Danish League is fantastic for his development. I for one am a proponent of our players going to leagues like Belgium, Portugal, Denmark, the Netherlands, Denmark etc. prior to a bigger move to bigger leagues.
Cho Gue Sung like it or not is a very important piece of our KNT puzzle so I for one will be rooting for him to succeed and bring his form up. For better or for worse Korea does resort to long ball 뻥축구 so CGS needs to get back into shape for us to do well.
Other transfer murmurings:
Hwang In Beom to Napoli as discussed earlier: I am a big proponent of this. He is way too good for Greece. In a recent friendly against Danish league runners up Nordsjælland, assistant coach Michael Essien singled out Hwang In Beom as the one player from Olympiacos he would love to have in his squad.
Park Yong Woo to Al Ain: another one chases the bag. I don’t blame him but Ulsan is in a very bad shape right now, and a lot of people are pointing their fingers at the Park Yong Woo racism scandal (which in my opinion was blown WAY out of proportion)… maybe that’s why he’s leaving? Ulsan was running away with the league earlier in the season, now they’ve lost their last two games in a row (they’re still 12 points clear of 2nd placed Pohang though). They lost their starting CDM, the replacement CDM they were eyeing Kwon Hyuk Kyu is going to Europe… what options do they have left? Unclear at the moment. Hopefully they sign and start developing a young DM. DMs are rare in the modern game and a good one is key to success… think Rodri, Lobotka, Casemiro..
Lee Han Beom to Schalke: the below tweet is a prime example of how military service really hampers our development as a footballing nation. Everyone knows about it even this guy:
Bae Jun Ho to Arsenal: absolute BS I’m sure, but Bae Jun Ho has certainly drawn the attention of European scouts during the U20 World Cup. Personally I am hoping he makes a move to a mid-ranked European league as mentioned earlier. Or maybe even Mallorca to replace Lee Kang In? Although I am personally hoping that Paik Seung Ho can make a La Liga comeback after winning the Asian Games. Either way Bae Jun Ho is currently playing a good amount of minutes for Daejeon (although he hasn’t been very involved) and hopefully a good team will swoop in later down the line.