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2016 K-League Challenge: Ones To Watch (Part 3 - Midfielders)

Only a few days remain till the big kick-off and I still have the midfielders and the strikers to cover so I had better get cracking. This time around its time to take a look at the engine room of the K-League Challenge sides and see what gems we can uncover.

A quick look at the official 2015 K-League Challenge team of the season shows a midfield four of Ko Kyung-min, Lee Seung-gi, Cho Won-hee and Kim Jae-sung, while my own picks had Lee, Kim and Kim Sun-min of Anyang. So overall we have one forward (Ko), two guys who have left the league in Cho (now at Suwon Bluewings) and Lee (promoted with Sangju), and two who are still sticking around. Might as well start with those two then...

Kim Jae-sung (Seoul E-Land FC)

At times Kim looked like he was strolling through games last season for E-Land and brought a bit of class to the Challenge.

Whether he was played in centre-midfield, wide on the right or even at times as a makeshift right back Kim generally looked a class above and was equally able to get his hands dirty as to contribute to the pretty stuff in attack.

A wicked set-piece delivery was enough to earn him 'Assister of the Season' for the league and he also chipped in with 4 goals. You can't really ask for much more than that from the seasoned all-rounder.

Kim Sun-min (Daejeon Citizen)

I was always impressed with this little guy whenever I watched Anyang last term as his direct running caused defences no end of problems. He had a decent shot on him as well and bagged 6 goals in total last season including one or two absolute corkers.

Definitely one of my favourite players to watch in the K-League, I was slightly surprised that Ulsan Hyundai didn't want to hang on to him and even more surprised when he signed on with Daejeon. He's only 24 so there's still a chance for him to make his mark in the Classic but I'm really surprised that's he wasn't given chance at a higher level and a bit let down that my recommendation wasn't enough to earn him a move to E-Land.

Edgar Pacheco (Gangwon)

For a while it looked as if Gangwon weren't going to bother actually putting together a squad for this season and then they surprised everyone by pulling off a couple of very intriguing looking foreign signings.

First of those was Edgar Pacheco who was once something of a rising star in Mexican football and linked with moves to European clubs including FC Koln. Fast forward a few years and the 26-year-old is heading to the Korean countryside to ply his trade. With 5 caps for his country though he must have something to offer so it'll be interesting to see this guy in action.

Matheus Alves (Gangwon)

The second of Gangwon's signings is a young player that would probably be filed under the heading of 'just another Brazilian' if it weren't for his slightly unusual CV.

He boasts a couple of seasons in the lower leagues of France with Istres and a season in the Finnish top flight with FC Lahti. He banged in 12 goals for the Finns so it might be that Alves spends more time in attack than he does in midfield but nonetheless the 22-year-old should be one to keep an eye on.

Jung Hyuk (Ansan Mugunghwa)

Midfielders can't all be strikers in disguise and sometime you just need someone to sit in midfield, win the ball and pass it to someone in the same coloured shirt as him. This is the role that I think Jung Hyuk fills really well and he's a player I've liked since his time at Incheon Utd.

His no-fuss style earned him a move to megabucks Jeonbuk where he was a fairly regular performer before he moved to the Police side to see out his national service. At 29 he has bags of experience and should be in his prime.

Eder (Daegu)

Eder played in a few different positions for Daegu last year but he was a key part of the Brazilian quartet that won the side so many points last season. His ten goals were a solid contribution to the side although in the end he was overshadowed somewhat by the form of his countryman Jonathan.

Eder is another one with a few surprises on his CV - he's won the Greek Cup with AEK Athens and played in the Middle East with Al Shabbab - but 2015 looks to have been his most effective season to date. He'll be looking for the same again this time around.


  1. I noticed Pacheco when I as looking at the Gyeongnam vs. Gangwon opener. Could be an absolute star if he finds his feet in the league


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