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Catching up with Busan (transfers)

The window officially opened today for the K League and we continue to see plenty of movement with Busan. So, I thought it'd be as good a time as any to catch up with the transfer action, and posit some thoughts about what this team may look like next season.

Players IN

Thus far Busan has been a 'net spender'. I use that term loosely as Busan probably has not actually spent a whole lot of money, but they have signed more players than they have sold.

Transfer signings

Choi Seung-in, Gangwon FC, Forward
Ko Gyeong-min, FC Anyang, Forward
Cha Young-hwan, Zweigen Kanawaza, Defender/Defensive midfielder
Jeon Hyun-cheol, Jeonnam Dragons, Forward

Free agent signings

Kim Hyung-geum, Youngnam University, Goalkeeper
Park Byung-hyun, Sangji University, Defender
Lee Dong-il, Sunggyungwan University, Defender
Lee Joon-seo, Gaesung High School (Busan U18), Defender
Kim Jong-min, Chungbuk University, Forward

Open tryout signings

Park Gyeong-rok, Donga University, Defender
Jang Hyun-woo, Sangju Sangmu/FC Seoul, Defender
Kim Dae-ho, Ulsan University, Defender


Players OUT

Lee Bum-young, Avispa Fukuoka, Goalkeeper
Jeon Sung-chan, Jeonnam Dragons, Midfielder
Han Ji-ho, Ansan KP (mandatory service), Forward
Kim Dong-sub, Ansan KP (mandatory service), Forward


Thoughts thus far

Before the business got going, Choi Young-joon said he was looking to sign 13-15 new players. Currently the club has signed 12 players. If Choi is true to his earlier statement, that leaves three players to be signed, and the club currently needs three foreign players having released all three Brazilians. The club is reportedly on the verge of signing former Gyeongnam forward Milos Stojanovic with one of those slots. The other two will most likely be Brazilians.

The thing that jumps out to me most is that, of the 12 confirmed signings and the general trend to sign foreign forwards/attackers, none of the new players are midfielders. That would suggest that Choi Young-joon is satisfied with the current group of midfielders and that he doesn't see many (or any key ones) leaving. Choi seems to favor a 4-3-3 which means he'd probably like to have 6-8 central midfielders in his squad to select from. Joo Se-jong, Lee Gyu-seong, Kim Jin-kyu would seem to be the first choices. Lee Chung-woong also seems to be a Choi favorite as a defensive midfielder, and Hong Dong-hyun popped up late in the season (although as a false 9 of sorts). Jung Seok-hwa and Kim Yong-tae featured under Yoon Sung-hyo, but really disappeared from the team towards the end. Choi Kwang-hee is a versatile player, but is up for free agency this year. I imagine that those eight will probably be Choi Young-joon's main pool to select from.

With two forwards departing, Choi has brought in four new faces and possibly another three with the foreign players. Again, Choi is probably going to look to have 6-7 forwards to select from if he's going to play a three-man attack. Busan had nine forwards on the roster at the end of 2015, but I think virtually all will be gone by the beginning of 2016. Given the club's scoring woes that's not too surprising or disappointing. The only question mark is the future of Lee Jeong-hyeob. His wages are paltry right now and due to league rules, Busan cannot offer him a huge amount. Lee is reportedly on approx. $36K a year, and Busan has offered him the max they can (approx. $72K). I have not seen any reports whether Lee has accepted that new offer or not. My gut feeling is that Busan is loading up on new forwards partially because they need to, but also partially as a backup if Lee Jeong-hyeob does leave. Ko Gyeong-min seems to be a solid player to rotate/backup Lee Jeong-hyeob with, which would (in my view) make the signing of Stojanovic unnecessary. I suspect the other foreign slots would be used on some slightly pacey, wide attacking Brazilian type with the hope they get another Fagner.

The defense looks like it could be a complete renovation, but at the same time it could be similar to what we saw last year. The club will surely be desperate to keep hold of Lee Chang-geun now that it's become official that Lee Bum-young will go to Fukuoka. I don't know a whole lot about Kim Hyung-geum, but he's another Korean youth international, so he should be a decent backup for Lee Chang-geun. Will the defense line change? Maybe, maybe not. A lot of defenders have been signed, but their young and inexperienced (professionally speaking). The thought of Kim Chan-young/Kim Jong-hyuk/Noh Haeng-seok doesn't fill me with confidence, but I can't say the thought of putting in any of the new players makes me more so. The same can be said for the fullback positions. Gu Hyun-joon seems decent enough to play the left back spot, while rightback remains average with Park Joon-gang and possibly Yoo Ji-no.

*All screenshots are courtesy of busanipark.com

Thoughts on the Busan transfer window thus far. Has the club done good business? Can the new signings help them get promoted again? 

Want the latest transfer news and Busan IPark info? Follow Jaehyeok Lee on Twitter @ArmchairRegista 

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