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Transfer Talk: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

K League Classic Transfer Talk 2017 - Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors had a winter transfer window of two contrasting halves, yet managed to do enough to see them clear at the league summit in July once more. Now, with just the right addition or two, they could be well prepared to stroll to the title.
(Photo Credit: Hyundai-MotorsFC.com)

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

Without any shadow of a doubt, Kim Jin-su’s signing from Hoffenheim has proved not only to be the club’s best signing, but perhaps one the biggest coups for the K League this year. It is so easy to point to strikers when looking for the best players in the league (the league's official Player of the Year award has nearly always been one in recent years) but for a left back to come in, clock up a good number of assists, earn a reputation for a wicked free-kick, force his way back into the national setup and for it only to be July speaks volumes of the impact he has had at the club. The fact that he is from the city of Jeonju only makes it all the more sweeter for the fans. Well done to all those involved in smuggling this transfer across the line just days before the club were disqualified from the AFC Champions League.

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

Jeonbuk have the best defence in the league, half of last season’s best midfield, but are really lacking prowess when it comes to forwards. This is not a recent issue either, with Lee Jong-ho looking like the best prospect for the club’s goal scoring longevity last season, only for him to be shipped to Ulsan in the winter. The club has three strikers with a combined age of 102, and a total of 12 goals between them. Edu is set to retire at the end of the year, and Lee Dong-gook’s regular place on the bench suggests the sun is finally setting on his long playing career too. Kim Shin-wook still boasts all the same issues as last season, but is still a decent backup option, or an implement of anarchy to break down an organised defence. However, there is no forward who can reliably take up the scoring mantle, especially when the manager tries, and often fails, to play a two striker formation. If Jeonbuk were to bolster this area, the engraving could already begin on the league trophy.

There is also concern for the centre of midfield. Kim Bo-kyung has unexpectedly moved on to pastures new and Lee Jae-sung is eternally linked to the bright lights of Europe, but who knows if this is finally his window to bid adieu. If Lee stays, then Jeonbuk have a serviceable midfield to see the season out, but if he were to go then the options begin to look rather thin. Jeonbuk were heavily linked with a loan move for Yoon Bit-garam until the reports claimed he and his club wanted too much, eventually choosing his old volcanic flame Jeju instead. Evidently then, Choi Kang-hee sees the need to bring in a creative midfielder, but as to who that could be remains unseen.

Finally, as touched upon briefly in our site's post-match video from Jeonbuk's recent defeat to FC Seoul, the North Jeolla side do look quite weak on the left wing, having never really replaced Leonardo. Despite this though, I still cannot envisage Choi Kang-hee opting to replace Lee Seung-gi or Ko Moo-yeol in this particular window as both of these players should be effective in that position, in addition to being backed up by the talented Kim Jin-su sitting behind them at left back.

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

As mentioned, Jeonbuk need a consistent striker. Jair from local rivals Jeonnam Dragons not only leads the goalscoring charts, but looks an ideal candidate. He is in his prime years at 27, reliable, and one can only imagine what he could do with an even stronger team supplying him. He can even play out on the wing in that aforementioned Leonardo-shaped hole, but to do so would to hamper his scoring ability, as proved when Park Gi-dong returned to that Jeonnam side late on last season. I feel he would be a realistic target for the league's title-chasing clubs, but I imagine if there is going to be any movement for him, it will be in the winter. After all, Jeonnam will certainly not be willing to part ways with the player, especially mid-season, but if any club has the funds to sway them eventually then it would be Jeonbuk.

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

I had originally made my case here for moving Mazola on from the club as he was taking up a foreigner spot without actually playing, only to find the board had beat me to publication. The Brazilian was diagnosed with a slight ankle injury upon arrival at the club in February and never fully recovered, and therefore never made an appearance.

Since his departure, I am not sure where Jeonbuk could afford to trim down. This was a squad that lost key names in the winter, not to mention losing Kim Bo-kyung last week, and has never properly replaced them. Perhaps some of the club's younger talents, who have yet to make an appearance, could be loaned out for playing time. Other than that though, I see this as a window where Jeonbuk need to bring people in. Whether they feel compelled to do so, especially given the lack of transfer rumours thus far, remains to be seen

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