Transfer Talk: Jeonnam Dragons
After a relatively quiet summer window in 2015, the Dragons have come out the gate sprinting in 2016 not only to fill glaring holes, but also to free up a bit of cash with some departures. With Stevo already officially out and rumors of the extremely talented Mislav Oršić heading to China, there's no doubt the team will look drastically different than they did at the beginning of the year.
Which player(s) signed in the Winter Transfer Window has performed best for your team this season?
Going into the season I was quite sure Vedran Jugović's move from HNK Rijeka would prove to be the master stroke in igniting an offensive powerhouse. He could play in the middle flanked by Ahn Yong-woo and Oršić and wreak havoc on defenses with Stevo up top. Now two of those four players are gone and Jugović hasn't quite lived up to expectations. A lot of that has to do with formations and tactics not really allowing him to play to his strengths and frequently being played out of position, but regardless he hasn't been everything I'd hoped. There's still the second half of the season, however, and he may well find himself in a much better position to succeed if there's a shift in formation with the incoming personnel.
The player that hands down wins the Winter Transfer Window contest has to be Lee Ho-seung. Joining the Dragons from JLeague 1 side Shonan Bellmare, Lee was given the opportunity to unseat presumed number 1 Kim Min-sik and was absolutely ruthless in his pursuit of the starting job. Lee's season has been smattered with a glut of tremendous saves and he rightly got the nod for Man of the Match in the second POSCO Derby. If not for his steadfast presence in the back, Jeonnam's goal difference would be much worse than their current -5.
Which position (if any) do you think your team needs to target most this transfer window?
Is there a player within K-League you'd like to see your team sign? An international player?
On the tremendously under the radar side of Korean teams, Hwang Chul-hwan of the 3rd division National League's Yongin City was a remarkably exciting player in his side's FA Cup defeat to the Dragons. Unfortunately Jeonnam's the only one with video from the match and didn't show the goals they conceded. However, the first goal was the direct result of a 35 yard, curling, absolutely on point pass from Hwang to set up his teammate Sun Seung-woo for Yongin's first. A single brilliant pass can be found by most midfielders, but Hwang had at least three throughout the night and if he were playing with attackers at a higher level likely would've had at least one more assist. Being a National League player, I'm sure salary wouldn't be much of an issue, so he's a low-risk potentially high-reward type player for Jeonnam or any team that's willing to take a chance on him.
Is there someone on the team you'd like to see loaned out or sold?
Realistically, who would be a great signing for the league?
Quoted as saying "I'm just looking to train well and play well and looking to impress whoever I can" in an ESPN FC article last year, perhaps he should turn his eye Eastward. In a league with relatively low average height like K-League, Packwood's 191cm frame would help ensure that he could win most headers and boss the play a bit physically as well. Add in his time spent defending in the demanding world of English Championship football and you're looking at a young man that will know how to employ "the dark arts" as well or better than most defenders in the league. On top of that, he's currently a free agent, so he'd join any team on a free. Valued at just over $160,000 by Transfermarkt, his salary demands aren't likely to be astronomical either. For any of the numerous teams struggling with aerial threats, clearing the ball, or simply martialing a back line, Packwood is a low cost option who still has a ton of upside and is young enough to potentially be a defensive cornerstone for years to come. It wouldn't be the "sexy" pick like a Brazilian striker may be, but he'd help provide stability and grit for teams like Suwon Bluewings, Jeju, or even FC Seoul who are struggling to keep the ball out of the back of the net.