Transfer Talk: Suwon Bluewings
There are still 2 months of the Korean winter transfer window remaining, but Suwon's squad is beginning to take shape and the signs are promising for their beleaguered and battered (see every article I wrote last season) fanbase.
(Photo courtesy of facebook.com/SuwonSamsungFC)
How active do you think your team will be in the winter window?
Looking at the Transfer Tracker Suwon haven't been among the busiest teams this transfer window, but the deals they have done have been smart and effective. They also may have not caught any headlines, but have built a strong and capable squad whilst remaining under the radar a little. A few more signings before the window closes could turn that capable squad into a title challenging squad.
What's your team's biggest area of need? Who are some potential targets you'd like to see fill those holes?
This is a difficult question to answer as it remains to be seen how Seo Jung-won will set out his team in this coming season. If Suwon are to persist with the 5-3-2 formation that propelled them to FA Cup glory last season, then attacking full back's should be right at the top of the shopping list. The departures of Hong-Chul and Shin Se-gye to Sangju (more on that later) have left Suwon with only 2 full back's that would be able to play as wing-back's (Jang Ho-ik and Yang Sang-min). Kleague is not exactly blessed with quality full-back's though, and Suwon may need to cast their net a little further to find suitable replacements.
However, if the manager is to favour a formation that has a more conventional flat back 4 system, then a further attatck minded central midfield player may be needed. And with the Suwon board loosening the purse strings a little in this transfer window, I would like to see some real ambition and the for the club to pursue a Jeonbuk or FC Seoul player. Ko Kwang-min from FC Seould would be a major coup for the club, and the midfielder, in my opinion, being one of the best in the league would undoubtedly add strength and depth to the squad.
Is there someone on the team you'd like to see loaned out or sold?
Anybody who reads my articles regularly will know that I am not a fan of striker Cho Dong-geon and it was much to my delight that the club finally announced that he departed Suwon in December. The striker commanded one of the highest salaries at the club, but probably produced the worst footballing output of the entire playing staff. He had to leave this window and I am glad to see that someone at Bluewings HQ is paying attention to my writing.
Also, it was pleasing to see that the club moved on two ageing players in Baek Ji-hoon and Oh Jang-eun. Both have been good servants to the club but are beyond their peak as players. Baek Ji-hoon, in particular, struggled to find any form last season, and Oh Jang-eun spent 2/3's of the season on the injury table.
Last season saw the emergence of midfield dynamo Koh Seung-beom and I would really like to see him loaned out to a Challenge team to get some game time. He looks like an extremely promising player, but he will need more minutes on the pitch to improve his game and a lower ranked Challenge team may be the perfect place for him to do that. Kim Gun-hee also emmerged as a promising talent during the 2016 season, but didn't see a lot of game time after the arrival of Johnathan, so it might also be good business by Suwon if they allowed the striker to leave on loan.
What transfers have already taken place and how do you see them playing out in 2016?
This winter has been a busy and (on paper. Dangerous thing to say before a ball is kicked) wholly succesful transfer window for Suwon, bringing in a total of 4 definite first-team starters and also supplementing the squad with the acquisition of some interesting young players.
Kim Min-woo arrived very early in the transfer window and with a wealth of experience in Japan, captaining Sagan Tosu. Despite having a low key arrival he could prove to be a great acquisition, playing either through the centre of midfield, or from the right.
Pohang's legendary goalkeeper, Shin Hwa-yong, has also signed on, which is an interesting, if needless signing. With 2 decent goalkeepers already in the squad (Yang Hyung-mo and No Dong-geon) and with Ham Seok-min returning following his successful loan spell at Gangwon FC, it was a strange transfer to target. But the former Pohang man definitely adds talent to the squad and will team up well with returning club legend and 2002 Korean national team star Lee Woon-jae who is the new goalkeeping coach at Big Bird.
Towering striker Park Gi-dong has arrived from Jeonnam and although he struggled in Jeolla-do, the striker had a successful season last time out in the military colours of Sangju scoring 9 goals and, more impressively, assisting 8 times. With the club securing prolific Brazilian Johnathan until atleast July 2017, Park Gi-dong will probably only be utilised as a squad player, but he does offer the manager a plan-B with his aggression and physicality something that may be utilised if things don't go to script for Suwon.
Finally, the signing of strong centre-back Matthew Jurman, from Sydney FC was a welcome relief to every Suwon fan. After shipping an astonishing 59 goals last season (the vast majority of them coming in the final quarter of games) a quality centre-back was top of the shopping list, and it was great to see the club ambitiously go after one of the A-league's best players. He comes to Korea with a growing reputation and should build up a great partnership at the back with the speedy Koo Ja-ryoung.
Going the other way, Kwon Chang-hoon engineered himself his European move to Dijon of the French league. After performing so poorly last year it may have been wiser for him to remain in Korea one more year to continue his development, but the youngster had his head turned by the bright lights of rural France.
Left-back Hong-Chul has left to complete his military service and will play the next couple of seasons with Sangju. The defender is my favourite player at Suwon and his departure leaves a massive gap in the Suwon squad. His combination play with Yeom Ki-hun on the left side was, at times, almost unplayable for opposing defences and he is going to be sorely missed, perhaps more so than Kwon Chang-hoon.
Who's an "ideal" signing that would do well in the K-League?
I think the one thing that the Kleague is lacking in is quality, current Korean national team players. It is noticeable that there is more interest in the league when national team players are actually in Korea and playing week in week out for audiences. Trying to entice familiar names back from Europe should be an ambition league wide and any team with a bit of spare cash should look no further than Suk Hyun-jun, whose nightmare year doesn't seem to be ending. With his loan spell with Trabzonspor being cancelled, he has returned to parent club Porto. The big striker would command a starting space in any Kleague squad and would be a major coup for the league.