So as we begin to enter the ‘silly season’ of transfer rumors just who will stay in the K-league and who will leave for pastures new and probably a nice warm blanket on a subs bench. Below I look at the top 5 potential movers of the transfer window.
First up has to be the Korean Peter Crouch himself.
Kim Shin Wook has long looked like a player desperate to follow in the footsteps of Ki Sung Yeung and depart Korea for other shores. He has been linked with moves abroad several times in the past but nothing has transpired and he finds himself still in the blue of Ulsan Hyundai. In the summertime he almost made the identical move Ki made when an inquiry came in from Celtic FC but Kim didn’t seem too keen on the move and again a window closed for him. He was with the rather disappointing Korean National squad at the World Cup but he, like most of the team, did nothing to attract potential buyers. He does now however have the added value of being exempt from military service after being named in the Asian Games squad that won gold. Not surprising after this he didn’t feature again for Ulsan last season as he ended up injured (or as some assume “protected from injury”). He is definitely one of maybe two or three players in the K-League who could not only attract the interest of a reasonably big-named club but that could also do the business for them. I think we have definitely seen the last of Kim in the K-League. Potential destination? Germany.
Second on my list of potential farewells is …
Suwon Bluewings keeper Jung Sung Ryong is another player who could be heading to Incheon Airport come January. He was rumored to be attracting the interest of no less than three British clubs during the summer with, again, Celtic being one of them. Celtic have managed to secure the services of Scotland international Craig Gordon so it looks unlikely that he will be strutting his stuff at Celtic Park any time soon. It’s not particularly common for Korean goalkeepers to move overseas mainly due to the rule prohibiting foreign keepers in the K-League but I think Jung could be the one to break the mould. He has a wealth of international experience and is more than capable of pulling off the occasional “how did he get to that” save. However, with Suwon back in the ACL again next year and with them finishing second in the K-League this year he could feel that his future lies in Korea.
The first foreigner on the list of movers is.
There have been so many rumors flying around since before the end of the season regarding Leonardo and Kaio’s futures with Jeonbuk. It’s almost 100% certain that Kaio will leave and the general feeling is that Leonardo will follow suit. Most of the rumors started when he sold his car a few weeks before the end of the season and this started growing arms and legs. Leonardo does have a year left on his contract and I doubt Jeonbuk would want to see him go early. He has been one of the few Brazilians to really bring something to the K-League and it would be a shame to see him leave it so soon. Jeonbuk will want to build on their league success this season and also avoid a repeat of a rather poor ACL campaign. They may go down the whole ‘bring in another Brazilian to keep him happy’ route and so we could maybe even see Daejeon’s Adriano gracing the the green of Jeonbuk next year. Mentioning Leonardo also gives me an excuse to post the video of him and Kais’s penalty again!
Next up we have the hugely popular (sarcasm alert)
Pictured in a now overly familiar pose we have FC Seoul manager Choi Yong Soo. It’s not that Choi hasn’t been a successful appointment in the Seoul dugout, 3rd spot in the league along with an FA Cup Final spot and a ACL Semi-Final this season isn’t to be sniffed at but he does seem to lack a certain charismatic or even motivational presence on the touchline. His tactics and team selection in 2014 were the grumble of many within the suhoshin. From dragging out 0-0 draws to playing personnel out of position it’s fair to say that Choi wasn’t exactly the toast of the fans. Although they finished 3rd in the league you do have to take into account Pohang’s spectacular implosion after the World Cup and I think the way Choi celebrated Osmar’s winning goal in the last minute at Jeju (he ran from the technical area to the corner flag), in itself betrayed more relief and amazement than actual belief. If he was to leave I’m not sure of either a) where he would go or b) who Seoul would bring in to replace him. Seoul are not known for knee-jerk reactions and I feel he will prob be given the first half of the season to prove he still has what it takes to shoulder the expectations of the Seoul fans. Another Rafael-esque singing though and he might just be visiting Homeplus a little more often on weekends.
Finally we have
In one of those “it could happen to you” movie moments it looks like the Gyeongnam FC could be the latest Korean club to threaten ‘going to the wall’ and closing. Last year we had the issues with Seongnam Ilhwa before they were rescued by the council and renamed Seongnam FC, this season we had the mayor of Incheon talking about relegating the club to avoid the K-League Classic fees next season. Now it looks like after being relegated that Gyeongnam might actually follow through and seek either a merger or a new owner or worse. The price of relegation was always going to be huge if either of the citizen clubs got relegated and I guess it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that Gyeongnam are struggling. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next moth or so and whether we will get to see them grace the Classic again in one form or another.