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Transfer Talk: Daejeon Citizen

With Daejeon Citizen currently propping up the K League Challenge league table, it would suggest that there is work to be done for Purples gaffer Lee Youngik for the remainder of the transfer window. Already, since the window opened a couple of weeks ago, the Purples have added four players to their ranks, including Gyeongnam defender Jeon Sanghoon (pictured above) and a Brazilian forward. But, what other business needs to be done to salvage Citizen's season? 

Image courtesy of Jung Kyungwon 




Transfer Summary

In

Park Jusung - DF (Gyeongnam FC)
Jeon Sanghoon - DF (Gyeongnam FC)
Bruno Cantanhede - FW (Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona)
Kim Chanhee - FW (FC Pocheon)

Out

Kang Seungjo - DF (Gyeongnam FC)
Perdro Henrique - FW (Free Transfer)
Cho Yechan - MF (Gyeongju HNP - Loan)
Gong Yonghoon - MF (Gimhae City - Loan)
Kim Jungjoo - MF (Gyeongju HNP - Loan)
Han Seungyeop - FW (Cheonan City - Loan)
Nam Yunjae - FW (Gyeongju HNP - Loan)

Which player(s) signed in the Winter Transfer Window has performed best for your team this season?

Without Cristian Dănălache's goals Daejeon Citizen would be cut adrift even further at the bottom of the K League Challenge table. At the time of writing, the prolific Romanian's goals (eight) have accounted for six of Citizen's 15 points; that's 40% of the points the Purples have amassed in 2017. Of course, such goal-scoring prowess is of little surprise given how dangerous Dănălache was for Gyeongnam last term, amassing 19 league goals and finishing the season as the second highest goal scorer in the Korean second tier. Dănălache is vital for Citizen which is why manager Lee Youngik needs to to find a way, or indeed a player, who can supply his star man.


Image via Daejeon Citizen Facebook.

Which position (if any) do you think your team needs to target most this transfer window?

Manager


It is in the dugout, not so much out on the pitch, where I feel that Daejeon need to make changes. At the beginning of the season I was quite confident that Daejeon had the tools to mount a serious and genuine promotion push. I would still maintain that they are still one of the better equipped teams in the division, certainly the playing staff is as good as it could be for a club with such a small budget.

However, it is the man who is using these tools, Lee Youngik is far from a master craftsman, rather he is merely a lifelong apprentice. To have a team that can boast of the League's second highest goalscorer in Cristian Dănălache, his partner in crime and assist maker extraordinaire Lee Hoseok, wonderkid Hwang Inbeom, and former FC Seoul and 42 cap-winning former Republic of Korea international defender Kim Jinkyu at his disposal, just to name a few, Lee ought to be doing a lot better. To be propping up the table with the playoffs no fewer than 17 points away, questions really should be asked at boardroom level as to whether Lee is the man to lead Daejeon a) out of this mess and b) back into the Classic.

Problem areas

Central defender

Daejeon Citizen's defensive frailties were all too evident in the first half of the season. The Purples' innate ability to turn draws, and even sometimes wins, into defeats by conceding late goals has in turn rendered them bottom of the table. At the back, Daejeon have been crying out for an experienced, reliable centre back who is comfortable on the ball. Jang Junyoung is fairly comfortable with the ball at his feet but is still relatively young at 24 years old, and with just 33 career appearances to his name, lacks experience.

Frankly, Citizen had such a player on their books but decided not to renew his contract and, despite his pleas, opted not to re-sign him. A player in a similar mold to Jean-Claude Bozga would be ideal but, if there is such a defender available, then they would have to be signed domestically or from the other Asian quota as Citizen have no more non-Asian foreigner spots left in their squad.



image via Daejeon Citizen Facebook

Manager Lee Youngik has experimented with a number of tactical combinations, both in terms of personnel and systems in 2017. At present, the former Gyeongnam number two seems to favour a back three with new boys Park Jusung and Jeon Sanghoon, who both joined from Lee's former club Gyeongnam, lining up along side the promising Jang Junyoung. Daejeon's only cleansheet of the season came when Park and Jeon made their debuts: a 2-0 home win over Anyang. Since then Citizen have conceded no more than a goal a game and have lost just once.

Forwards

As well as the two defensive reinforcements, Lee also strengthened his forward line by bringing in Brazilian Bruno Cantanhede and overseen the return of Kim Chanhee. Both players made an immediate impact upon their return, scoring on their respective debuts during the 2-0 win over Anyang. With Cristian Dănălache spearheading Daejeon's front three, Lee had tried a whole host of players either side of him; Kim Taebong, Lee Hoseok, Kim Jungjoo, Jung Minwoo, Levan Shengelia, Park Daehoon, Nam Yunjae and now Kim Chanhee and Bruno have all been tried on the wing. But, with so many wingers on Daejeon's books, an out and out striker who can challenge Dănălache for a starting berth would be ideal if such funds were available.

Box-to-box midfielder

At present, Daejeon lack a bit of energy in the middle of the park, perhaps as the result of Kim Sunmin's departure to Daegu FC during the winter. The knock on effect is that players like Hwang Inbeom are afforded less time on the ball and, as thus, appears to be having a below par season. Someone in a similar mold as Kim Sunmin would be ideal but just who is available, or more to the point who is available that the Purples could realistically afford, is entirely another matter.

Furthermore, if a box-to-box midfielder can be procured, it would allow Hwang Inbeom to operate in a more advanced role. Hwang excelled last season when finding space created by Kim Dongchan and Gustavo Sauerbeck, showing that he is capable of arriving late from midfield to get himself amongst the goals.

Is there a player within K-League you'd like to see your team sign? 

Despite having just talked about a centre back and a box-to-box midfielder, one player that I would like to see Daejeon sign is actually neither of those. Jung Jaehee from FC Anyang is a forward who operates from the wing and possesses a great deal of pace. Pace is an attribute that goes a long way in the K League Challenge, being able to play on the counter attack or simply bursting forward with vigour and purpose is how Daejeon won promotion three years ago. A move for Jung would be unrealistic, certainly mid-season, but he is a player that one can't help but admire.

Another K League Challenge player whom is having another strong season is Kim Shin from Bucheon 1995. Kim Shin, a former Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors youth player who spent last year out on loan at the now defunct Chungju Hummel, could certainly push Dănălache for a place in Citizen's forward line. He is a powerful player with an eye for a good pass and can operate from wide positions or behind the strike and so could be someone that help Daejeon get the best out of Cristian Dănălache, Of course, Kim Shin as well as the aforementioned Jung Jaehee are currently playing at teams higher up the table than Citizen and so it would be wholly unrealistic to expect Lee Youngik to able to tempt them into a move to Purple Arena.

Is there someone on the team you'd like to see loaned out or sold?

Citizen have already let some fringe players go out on loan, most notably Kim Jungjoo who was very much a first team player right up until the former Ulsan Mipo Dockyard Dolphins winger joined Gyeongju HNP. Another forward who joined Gyeongju on loan was Nam Yunjae. Nam featured in the first team once or twice this term but the 21-year-old is at that point where he needs first team football if he is going to progress. A loan move makes perfect sense, as it would for Hwang Jaejung, a defender who graduated from Daejeon's academy last year and is seen as a good prospect for the future.

However, given the Purples' plight this term, any opportunities for first team experience have been shelved for the foreseeable. As thus, it would be a good idea to let Hwang play out the remainder of the season at a National League or K3 side to get some experience. With budget restrains in place at Daejeon, having players ready to go for next year ought to be considered somewhat of a priority for Daejeon's management team.

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