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2016 Season Preview: Daejeon Citizen

Team Overview

It seems that Daejeon are a team that have lacked any real stability and have been without any sort of clear vision for the future for the past few years now.  This distinct lack of foresight has been most evident in the transfer market with the Purples having had to rebuild every winter.  Daejeon seldom ever have more than handful of the same players remaining from the season before and seem to be the least prepared team in the league. As a result, continuity has been a problem.  

Daejeon's new kits for the 2016 season. Photo Credit: DCFC.co.kr

Promotion and relegation hasn’t been in place for very long under the K League brand but after winning promotion in 2014 following relegation the year before, Daejeon could well establish themselves as the K League’s first yo-yo team.

Last Season

12th Place – Relegated: 5-11-22

What Happened?

A distinct lack of preparation ensured that Daejeon were on the back foot the second the shimpan blew the whistle to start the very first game of the season. The loss of Jeong Seok-Min to Ryan Walters’ much-loved Jeonnam Dragons was a bitter blow, though. Jeong Seok-Min was the conductor in Coach Cho’s orchestra. Without him pulling the strings, Daejeon were off key. A replacement in the same mould was never seen, certainly not at the same level as Jeong Seok-Min, and as a result Daejeon struggled to get going in a lot of games. 

Daejeon’s pass completion rate was the third highest in the league but without that killer incisive pass, such play became somewhat meaningless. Results weren’t good enough and questions at boardroom level were asked about the manager who was then eventually dismissed. The dismissal upset Adriano and was released after he allegedly refused to train.  Incoming manager Choi Mun-Sik’s scattergun recruitment policy with unproven Brazilians resulted in an inevitable relegation.

Key Player

All of Daejeon’s hopes are being pinned on Wanderson, another relatively unknown Brazilian. Wanderson’s goal return last year was respectable considering the Purples generally struggled for goals. In the Challenge against slower and perhaps more cumbersome defences the defender-come-striker could bag a hatful for Daejeon. 

Wanderson in training. Picture credit: DCFC.co.kr

Of course, Wanderson was originally billed as a defender when he arrived midway through last season and it is indeed, that is where he began his Daejeon career. But, after netting a brace against Jeonnam Dragons, he was ushered further forward to try and cause problems with his pace and ability to play off the shoulder. Wanderson, certainly at this level at least, is a gifted footballer who has plenty of technique and flair. Thus, he could be effective anywhere on the pitch. Having a quick striker goes a long way in Korean football so Wanderson should, in theory, cause plenty of problems for K League Challenge defenders.

Korean National Teamer To Watch

In recent years Daejeon have seldom been blessed with many players who have been selected to represent Korea at international level. One prospect who is potentially destined for bigger and better things is Hwang In-Beom, the young midfielder who impressed early last season before breaking his leg. The promising youngster will perhaps feel like he is making up for lost time and will be eager to impress this season. Hopefully, from a Daejeon point of view, these performances don’t lead to him being poached by one of the bigger clubs any time soon. However, the level of promise this lad has is certainly enough for him to be considered one to watch.

Newcomer To Watch

Seo Dong-Hyun is a very good signing for Daejeon, especially for the Challenge. The experience of the on-loan Jeju forward could prove vital this season as the Purples look to gain promotion at the first time of asking. Whilst on loan to Ansan Police, “Rainmaker” as he is sometimes referred to, notched 13 goals in 49 appearances.

Transfer Window

Daejeon’s transfer activity began somewhat slowly with very little of note happening until February. Securing the services of Wanderson is perhaps Daejeon’s most surprising bit of business as the Brazilian utility man seemed, judging from how he performed last season, too good to play in Korea’s second tier.

In addition to Wanderson having his stay extended, Daejeon secured the loan signing of Jeju striker Seo Dong-Hyun. Seo Dong-Hyun will add some much needed experience and guile to Daejeon’s forward line and could compliment Kim Dong Chan, another new striker at Daejeon having joined on a Bosman following his release from Jeonbuk Hyundai. As the former’s nickname is “Rainmaker”, let’s hope for Daejeon’s sake it will be raining goals. Both of those signings were made in the space of a week in mid-February. 

Kim Dong-Hyun arrives on loan from Jeju. Picutre credit: DCFC.co.kr

 All of a sudden, then, Daejeon’s attack looked much more menacing.  Elsewhere, Romanian defender Jean-Claude Bozga was brought in as was Brazilian forward Gustavo Sauer. As with most unknown foreigners who arrive on these shores how these two players will fair is anyone’s guess.  Bozga brings a wealth of experience to the back four having notched up over 300 appearances during his career. A streetwise and experienced centre half is what Daejeon have been lacking for a number of years now. 

Expectations This Season

Another Challenge League Title win would perhaps be too unrealistic for the Daejeon faithful to expect but a playoff push wouldn’t be too farfetched. With strong sides like Daegu and Seoul E-Land, who both will be eager to lay to rest season’s respective disappointments, it is not going to be easy for Daejeon. However, Daejeon have recruited well, despite the slow start to their transfer proceedings. Thus, I expect to Daejeon to be there or thereabouts. A good start is key.

Predicted Finish

A respectable 4th place finish is what I am predicting for Daejeon Citizen this season.

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