Koo Ja-Cheol transfers to Mainz

Good times, a bachelor party and a hangover later, the Tavern owner finds out and posts the late news you good Taven goers already know via Tavern TwitterWolfsburg’s Koo Ja-Cheol’s transfer to Mainz – that moves from the ‘rumored’ category to ‘confirmed.’ Psyched? Check. The themes emerging: 1. Korean ‘ballers moving to Germany & away from England with rapidity and 2. the kbros are pairing up, Koo reunites with KNT teammate Park Joo-Ho (a better term than kbros exist? I just coined that but maybe it’s too kitchy?…).

Paraphrasing Public Enemy, ‘Kbros gonna work it out,’  or at least pairing up for this transfer window. Ryu Seung-Woo, the 19 year old Jeju United striker on loan to Bayer Leverkusn joined the team in December – he’s in good company with Son Heung-min acting as default mentor. (By the way, Ryu was beasting it up today for Bayer Leverkusen in a series of friendlies, scored a sizzling goal. With Robbie Kruse’s unfortunately timed ACL knee injury, Ryu may get to see 1st team minutes this season. More on his performance in the friendlies later).

The other pair: Ji Dong-Won joining Augsburg (temporarily) with defender Hong Jeong-Ho. Ji was teammates with Ki Sung-Yeung until the astonishing transfer last weekend – well let’s say a sucker punch to Sunderland, the loser overall in a process deal Borussia Dortmund used in tandem with Augsburg to finalize a multi year contract with Ji.  After finishing the season with Augsburg for what may have been less than a €500K transfer, Ji will be in a BVB jersey in the summer on a free transfer. The Sunderland Echo bemoaned the fact that Ji could have transferred in the summer to BVB for “a 10th of what Sunderland were offered for the South Korean international six months ago.”  Augsburg in the meantime are excited to have Ji back in the squad – he and Koo Ja-Cheol were a critical reason for their survival from relegation last season when both players were on loan from their respective clubs. That surprise pairing last season was courtesy of Koo, who had convinced the Augsburg front office to give his Olympic Taeguk Warrior teammate a chance.

Ki is left at Sunderland, a vital part of the Blackcats in their season long struggle to escape relegation. He gave an interview to the Mirror published Friday admitting he had initial doubts after joining then-manager Paulo DiCanio’s Blackcats on loan from Swansea, ‘wondering what he had got himself into’. Since then, he has had a tremendous season – establishing order in the midfield and scoring 2 Premiership goals and a League cup goal that knocked out Chelsea to boot. This transfer window saw a back and forth between Gus Poyet and Swansea over whether Swansea’s rights to pull back Ki had expired. Nevertheless, watch Gus and Sunderland try their hardest to sign Ki permanently at the end of the season – with the threat of relegation tipping the final decision for Ki. Meanwhile, Ki had a quieter game in their 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light yesterday  -we’ll have the weekend roundup in the next post.

Back to Koo, it was clear he was not happy with being played out of position at Wolfsburg (deeper midfield) in the first half of the season. It’s widely thought that Koo will be played in a more advanced role as an attacking midfielder, much like the position he was in as captain of Hong Myong-Bo’s 2012 Olympic Taeguk Warrior medalist squad. He was given jersey #13, and interestingly he presented himself as Ja-Cheol Koo in his first video interview for Mainz. No sweat. The Tavern however will still stick with the preferred Korean family-name first coding. This move looks promising – Mainz coach Tuchel told Kicker ‘Ja-Cheol’s (presence) makes us better right away…this is an exceptional transfer for us.’  The deal for the 24 year old Korean international is for 4 and a half years – both teams did not reveal the fees. UPDATE: Koo actually subbed in on a test match friendly today against 3rd tier FC Saarbrücken, a 3-0 win. Park Joo-ho started. According to the news article, Koo integrated well with his new teammates in the match.

This January transfer season has been highly productive thus far, but one major transfer potentially is hanging out there, it’s nail biting time for supporters of Korean football as we approach the close of the window. Park Chu-Young remains at Arsenal -and thus purgatory.  He was seen on the bench twice in the week (monday unused against Aston Villa and on Saturday unused against Fulham).

So let me make a quick and dirty case for Park – especially in case you are a lazy scout for a top flight European squad who just happened to wander into the Tavern: As much flak as Park gets from some dismissive Arsenal fans, other Arsenal ‘misfits’ have shown a productive post Arsenal life. Nick Bendtner in particular received the lion’s share of abuse – yet he was productive for the Gunners until a major knee injury a few weeks ago. Wenger’s instinct to get good young talent actually isn’t bad – despite the criticism from the english media that Park was a 2011 ‘panic buy’. His utilization and proper integration (and long term retention -see Fabregas, RVP,etc) of players over the years could be called into question. Thus Park Chu-Young, a player who was prolific as the captain for the Korean national team until his purgatory at Arsenal, a player who caught Wenger and Sir Alex Fergusen’s eye – a double digit goal scorer for AS Monaco in 2010-2011 – the first Korean to score in La Liga last season on loan to Celta Vigo – and despite hardly not playing for Arsenal in 2011-2012, helped secure a medal for Korea against Japan in the Olympics marked by 4 Japanese defender AND STILL SCORED – this is a player that has potential to make impact -another player who could shine outside of Arsenal. We are awaiting news that negotiations from interested Ligue 1 clubs will come through for Park – but we have not heard where the interested parties are in said negotiations.  I hear though that Falcao is trying to hook up with Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea squad – so how about Park back to AS Monaco?  As a rumour, that could sound good, right about now…or here’s a new one – how about a transfer to a Bundesliga team?  Can you say ‘ya?’   There are just 12 days until the window closes.

Lee Seung-Woo (90 minutes) and Jang Gyeol-Hee (subbed in the 2nd half) were involved in Barcelona Cadete A’s 2-0 loss in the Al Kass youth tournament against Fluminese yesterday.  Jinseok earlier posted about Lee and Jang’s productivity in the earlier tournament matches including a Lee goal to win against PSG. According to some observers, Barca was dominant throughout the match, but somehow wasn’t able to score. Lee had a goal controversially called back for offsides (replays shows that he may have been onsides). 2 late counterattacks led to the knockout. Both Koreans (from what I was able to see in a hangover haze) played very well. Onto the next international tournament. Here’s a highlight clip:

I promised a bit more about Ryu Seung-Woo – Bayer Leverkusen center back Omar Toprak in a interview with Bundesliga magazine, he liked what he saw of the new recruit. He jokingly/affectionately called him “small Kagawa,” and left no doubt that he was impressed with him. Meanwhile, Ryu scored against Dynamo Zabreg in a friendly today. He was involved in another test match. Just impressive, watch this:

Last note: if you venture onto BSK forum, you’ll no doubt recognize many of the articles and video clips used in today’s post. While some of the links I’ve used at the Tavern has come by way of the awesomeness of some of our Tavern goers, an honest admission in the ‘no duh’ category, I get a good amount of the aggregated links and various information from BSK.  My posts can summarize information somewhat timely to you at the Tavern – but if you’re talking about the LATEST – like mere seconds latest – that’s one of the best places to be. I never get to properly thank the BSK posters who plough through the interwebs looking for these articles. It’s impossible to thank them all – but a gamsamneeda is in order.

It’s not for the faint of heart though – new posters may find the forum a bit of a frosty atmosphere (or occasionally a middle school cafeteria food fight). But there’s no doubt, while the BSK forum has some downsides, if you are able to overlook some things and navigate smartly, as far as timely news, you can get fast info unscathed.

Rules if you do try hanging out there: try not to ask dumb questions. That’s left to interpretation what a dumb question could be – and while here at the Tavern we try very hard to be ‘user friendly’ in which no question is a dumb one  – the same can’t be said for BSK. Some veteran posters don’t have patience to deal with what they perceive to be time wasting.  Another rule: don’t be a dick. That is a subjective rule broken all the time. But the interweb is a harsh mistress – and rudeness often lurks around every corner. The consequence?  Several pages in BSK threads, members ‘dissing’ back and forth – leaving more substantive discussions or aggregate news sharing pushed into the background at times. When the football discussions get back on track -they have the potential to be absolutely illuminating – and refreshing perspectives magically appear. But sometimes even writing what you might think is a safely worded post can ignite a multi page foodfight. It gets ugly, I won’t lie. If you do post, safe bet – start with perhaps sharing a topical article that no one else has posted yet. Keep discussions relevant- and try to add something constructive to the overall thread conversation. Final rule: to be absolutely safe, so as not to pick a fight that you didn’t ask for? Don’t even post. I’m not trying to take away from your freedom of speech here. Just speaking personally, I don’t have much time – so what little I do have, if I’m on BSK, I hang about, look around, but don’t post. If I can contribute something, and I have some spare time, I will – just to try to give back to the community (even though I have no doubt I’ve taken more from them than I can ever give back). The network – and the individuals working in a gestalt to harness the internet far and wide to aggregate info is the forum’s greatest strength. Though we’ve got a pretty decent community here at the Tavern if I don’t say so myself.

With that, the Tavern owner is going back to taking care of the kids. Chal-ga-yo!


About Roy Ghim 454 Articles
The old Tavern Owner

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