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Offseason Update - Busan IPark

Merry Christmas from Busan IPark FC! (source)
Busan has wasted little time in getting ready for the 2017 campaign with the team already playing friendlies and lining up players to sign when the transfer window opens.

Practice Matches

Practice matches, especially this early in the offseason mean little, but the pitch is still the most important thing, so let's start there.

Busan played two scrimmage matches against the South Korea U-19 national team in Jeju. It was a chance for both sides - who feature new managers in Cho Jin-ho and Shin Tae-yong - to get a run out. 

Busan starting XI vs the U19 team (match 1). Gu Sang-min; Choi Kwang-hee, Lee Jung-woong, Park Byung-hyeon, Lee Dong-il; Lee Gyu-seong, Cha Young-hwan, Yu Ji-hun; Ko Kyung-min, Jeon Hyeon-cheol, Kim Hyeon-sung. (source)

Busan starting XI vs the U19 team (match 2). Kim Jung-ho; Kim Jin-do, Kim Jae-hyun, Cha Young-hwan, Yong Jae-hyun; Kim Jong-min, Kim Jong-hyuk, Jung Joon-gyu, Kim Ji-min; Kim Moon-hwan, Lee Joon-seo (source)
Busan won the first match 3-0 with Jeon Hyeon-cheol, Kim Hyeon-sung, and Kim Ji-min getting their names on the scoresheet (*note, a Naver article wrote those three goalscorers, the Busan IPark Facebook page listed Jeon Hyeon-cheol and a Kim Ji-min brace as the scorers). The U19 team won the second match 3-1 with Jeon Hyeon-cheol scoring Busan's consolation goal. An added bonus for Busan fans was that Lee Dong-jun started for the U19 team in the second match. Lee Dong-jun remains a Busan player while he attends/plays for Soongsil University. 

Transfer News

Compared to some clubs (*cough*Gangwon*cough*), Busan has remained fairly quiet on the transfer front. Four players have agreed to join the club next season in Park Gi-dong (FW, Jeonnam), Park Jun-tae (FW, Jeonnam), Lukian (FW, Bucheon), and Lim Yu-hwan (DF, Albirex Niigata). These moves are not official yet, but they will almost definitely happen when the window opens. Park Gi-dong made 30 appearances for Sangju and Jeonnam last season, notching nine goals. Park Jun-tae made 28 appearances last season for Sangju and Jeonnam, scoring 8 goals (all with Sangju). Lukian has spent the last two seasons with Bucheon, and last season he netted 15 goals for the Gyeonggi-do side. Lim Yu-hwan spent most of last season on loan with Tokyo Verdy from Albirex Niigata. The veteran defender only made four appearances between his time with the two clubs.

Meanwhile, there have been no official announcements regarding any players leaving the club. However, there will certainly be some faces leaving the Asiad.

Busan free agents (source)
The above image shows the players who are eligible for free agency in 2017. They are as follows:

DF: Lee Won-young, Kim Jae-hyun, Jang Hyun-woo, Kim Dae-ho, Yu Ji-hun, Park Kyung-rok, Yong Jae-hyun
MF: Lee Jung-geun, Choi Kwang-hee
FW: Kim Ji-min, Lee Jung-jin

Unlike most leagues, free agents can cost clubs money when they sign onto other clubs or when they re-sign. All of Busan's players, except for Lee Won-young (over age limit), will require a transfer fee (column 4) if they sign elsewhere. Kim Ji-min, Kim Jae-hyun, Yu Ji-hun, and Choi Kwang-hee will receive compensation if they re-sign with Busan. 

On a final transfer note, coach Cho Jin-ho and the club have stated that star duo Lim Sang-hyub and Lee Jeong-hyup will not be leaving the club during the offseason. Cho Jin-ho sees the two as vital components in rebuilding Busan into a force in Korean football. That said, the club and then-coach Choi Young-joon said similar things last year about players like Lee Bum-young, Joo Se-jong, Lee Jeong-hyup, and Lee Chang-geun (all of course eventually left the club during 2016). 

Extra Time

The Busan U18 team aka Gaesung High School is currently participating in the 2016 J.League International Youth Cup in Nagano, Japan. The tournament is an eight-team event (Busan IPark, FC Tokyo, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Kyoto Sanga, Matsumoto Yamaga, Perth Glory, Estudiantes, Figueirense) with the sides split into two groups. 

The U18 won their opening match against Argentinian side Estudiantes 2-1 with Lee Sang-joon and Kang Young-woong scoring the goals.

The traditional post-victory dressing room photo of the Busan U18 team after defeating Estudiantes 2-1. (source)
The U18 side will face Kyoto Sanga U18 on Thursday before wrapping up the group stage against Sanfrecce Hiroshima Youth on Saturday. All games are being live streamed on either the J.League website or the J.League Facebook page. 

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