The English transfer window has been open for over a week, while Germany, Spain and Korea will open up their markets for business in just under two weeks. With that in mind, here are 5 transfers involving Korean players that could see them move around in Europe or to/from the homeland.
Note: this is purely speculation, and the list will probably change as the transfer market heats up!
1. Hwang Heechan
Hwang Heechan’s had a barnstorming year at Red Bull Salzburg, scoring 16 goals across all competitions for the Austrian double winners. The faith that his Spanish manager, Oscar Garcia, entrusted in Hwang meant that the 21 year-old forward was promoted from FC Liefering last season, played 28/38 league games this season and started in the Austrian Cup Final (where Hwang got the opening goal). Garcia, however, has now moved on to Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne and you have to wonder if a move to France to rejoin Garcia would be the next step up the echelon for the Korean youngster. Regardless of the potential destination, watch for Hwang’s name to be around the transfer market when forwards begin to be wheeled and dealed, especially among mid-to-lower table Bundesliga sides.
2. Lee Chungyong
Lee’s season with Crystal Palace was much less fruitful. In fact, in his two seasons at South London, Lee’s played under 900 professional minutes and has bagged just one goal. After falling out of favor with the controversial Alan Pardew, Lee was relegated to the bench under new boss Sam Allardyce and has struggled for playing time. Though Big Sam’s departure means that no transfer deals will be done until Palace appoint a new manager, keep your eyes open when a new manager is appointed, because that will be the key to determining whether or not Lee toughs it out or tries for a move ahead of what hopefully will be a World Cup preceding season.
3. Park Jooho
Given Kim Jinsu’s most recent displays for the national team, the situation could not be more urgent for Park Jooho to get out of Borussia Dortmund. Solid showings for Mainz in 2013/14 and 2014/15 gave Park a surprise transfer to the German giants, but he’s really struggled for playing time since then, with more playing time for Borussia Dortmund II last season than for the actual side. There have been rumors involving Park in previous windows, including Inter and even (apparently, thanks to BigSoccer) Fenerbahce, but if we’re speaking frankly, anywhere is better than sitting on the bench at Borussia for Park… yes, even a move back to the K League.
4. Lee Jaesung
Is this cheating? It’s pure speculation, like the rest of this list, except this time I’m not going off of forum pillaging or random rumors. Lee Jaesung, Jeonbuk’s dynamic, hard-working midfielder, needs to, like his compatriot Kwon Changhoon, make a move to the European leagues. Despite reportedly receiving offers last winter, Lee apparently wanted to play a half-season in the K League before moving on to greener pastures. Everton, Chelsea, Leicester, Tottenham were reported to be having a look at the Korean, but you also can’t count out other German sides for whom Lee might be a better fit – especially with work permit problems. Don’t be surprised if Lee’s name pops up in speculation this summer – he’s all set to be the next Korean Player Abroad.
5. Lee Seungwoo
Maybe this is also cheating, but Lee Seungwoo will, as always, be the subject of the perennial rumors of clubs coming to the La Masia product with a decent contract and promised first team playing time. The latest? Reportedly Borussia Dortmund. Only time will tell if Lee will heed the advice of Korean legends – including Cha Bumkeun – urging him to get professional first-team minutes, or if he’ll stick stubbornly and devoutly to his goal at breaking through at Barcelona. (Seriously, man, you’re not beating MSN, you know what to do.)
Where would you like to see these Korean players go? Let us know in the comments below.