There’s been an awful lot of transfer news over the past couple of days, with pretty much every Korean player in China, the Middle East and even a couple in Europe rumored to return to the K-League or J.League.
As a whole, that isn’t really surprising, given the stagnation of many Korean players. Literally nobody playing outside of Korea is in good form, while the K League itself is having a bit more muted year given all 4 teams’ early exit from the Asian Champions League and the loss of important domestic and foreign talents.
For those Koreans in the CSL, the main issue is that many of them are getting no playing time, with a late rule change by the Chinese Football Association reducing the number of foreign players allowed to suit up for a given game (which predictably left the AFC berth player on the outs).
Here’s a list of the players and where they are rumored to go (full disclosure – all credit to @KORFootballNews from whom I’ve picked up the majority of the rumors – give him a follow on Twitter, brilliant account).
Currently: Chongqing Lifan
Problem: Played three games this year – his first professional season where he’s on course for so little minutes.
Type of Player: Limited CM/DM, ball-playing but also defensively oriented. Closest thing to a Regista under Stielike 4-1-4-1.
Rumored destinations: Unsure. Japan or Middle East. Nothing about K League.
Currently: Shanghai Shenhua
Problem: Played two games this year after 30 appearances last season.
Type of Player: The K League record transfer fee of 6 million US$ was an over-evaluation for this nonetheless competent all-round centreback.
Rumored destinations: Unsure. Japan or Middle East. Could return to K League, but unlikely given money.
Currently: Guangzhou R&F
Problem: Played more games with the KNT this year than in the CSL!
Type of Player: Fairly average but flexible defender. Best position is centreback, but has played RB, DM and (to a lesser extent) LB.
Rumored destinations: Back to the J.League. Perhaps a return to Tokyo FC?
Currently: Al-Gharafa (Qatar)
Problem: Not one in particular. Season is long over. But he’s 27 and hasn’t been to the military yet, and you have to establish yourself at K League club first before becoming eligible for Sangju Sangmu or Asan Police.
Type of Player: Closest thing to a Korean “destroyer”. Hard, aggressive tackling DM.
Rumored destinations: K League have got an eye on Han. But his price tag only accessible to certain clubs. Would be an upgrade on any DM in the league, however.
Currently: Yanbian Funde
Problem: Not first team this season. Marginally better than the CSL defenders, but still struggling for minutes.
Type of Player: Another mobile forward, who can also play on the wings.
Rumored destinations: Pohang, his former club, reportedly want him on loan.
Problem: Guangzhou signed Kim as a short-term replacement for fellow Korean Kim Younggwon. Guess they figured out that the 33 year-old veteran just isn’t on the same level.
Type of Player: Veteran centreback with the odd tendency for the reckless (good and bad).
Rumored destinations: Gangwon FC are frontrunners, and it makes sense. They got veterans everywhere, but not in defense.
Currently: Some Hungarian side
Problem: He plays in fucking Hungary. Where did his career go, it all looked so promising with 11 apps with Bayer Leverkusen in 2013-14…
Type of Player: Energetic, dynamic wide midfielder/winger with a bright future ahead of him.
Rumored destinations: Back home to Jeju United. One move I don’t want to see happen. Ryu has more potential than that.
Problem: Nothing discernible. Maybe he just wants a move, doesn’t like the UAE, etc. Hasn’t served in the army yet and he’s 29, so that could be it.
Type of Player: Deep lying playmaker that was crucial to Jeju United’s 2016 success.
Rumored destinations: ???
Currently: Left Al-Ain
Problem: Has to serve in the military, and wants to do it soon. For that, needs to spend x amount of time in K League before becoming eligible for Sangju or Asan.
Type of Player: Seemed like more of a DM at Al-Ain, but more commonly a box-to-box. Famous for his link-up play with Kim Seung-dae at Pohang – has great stats in K League.
Rumored destinations: The media has made it clear – it’s coming down to Pohang or FC Seoul. Could be the difference maker for either of those sides, and if the transfer happens, THE move of the window, unless…
Currently: Yanbian Funde
Problem: I actually don’t know.
Type of Player: Another central midfield playmaker, also with surprisingly good free kick ability (as demonstrated by his free kick goal against Czech Republic).
Rumored destinations: 6-month loan to Jeonbuk seeming like the most likely destination now, but many clubs, including Seoul and Pohang, were interested in acquiring his services.
Although, let’s be honest. We all want these transfers to happen but the thing we’re most keeping our eyes peeled for is any news of Lee Jae-sung to Europe 🙂