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Transfers: Northern Ireland International Niall McGinn Signs for Gwangju FC

This week Gwangju FC announced the signing of Niall McGinn from Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen, ending his five year stay at Pittodrie. McGinn is a Northern Ireland international who has made 52 caps for his country, scoring 3 goals and has become the first Northern Irishman to sign for a K League club.
(Image from Gwangjufc.com)

Although McGinn is new to Korean and indeed Asian football, having admitted that he only started to familiarise himself with the K League after meeting with Gwangju's president in Belfast, he admits that he is relishing a new challenge.

In a statement released on his official Twitter account, McGinn said:

"Since I met the club president a few weeks ago in Belfast, I have been researching Asian football and Korean football in particular," he said.

"I have been very impressed with what I have discovered.

McGinn pictured in training with his new Gwangju teammates. Image via Viva K League.

"This is a new, exciting challenge for me. One that is very different to anything I have experienced in my career to date.

"I am looking forward to continuing my career at Gwangju. I will give this club the same effort and commitment I have given my other clubs to date and I am sure I will pick up a few Korean words along the way."

And, having left Derek McInnes' Aberdeen, a side who finished as runners up in the SPL last season and subsequently qualified for the Europa League, to join the K League Classic's bottom side Gwangju, a challenge is exactly what he may well be facing.

In 2017, particularly after Gwangju's top goal scorer and K League golden boot winner for last year Jung Jogook departed for Gangwon FC, Gwangju have scored a mere 12 goals (prior to round 19), have only tasted victory twice this season, and are on a run of six games without a win.

For a player who is not an out-and-out striker, McGinn's had a sound goal return during his time at Aberdeen, for the last two seasons the former Celtic man netted 10 goals from 36 appearances both in the 2015/2016 season and the 2016/2017 season.

His highest goal-scoring return was during the 2012/2013 season where the County Tyrone-native bagged 20 goals in 35 appearances.

McGinn is no stranger to Korean players, however, having played alongside current Republic of Korea captain and Gwangju native Ki Seungyeung, as well as legendary defender Cha Duri whilst at Park Head.

Ki Seungyeung is scheduled to be at Gwangju's home fixture with K League Champions FC Seoul this Sunday, with the Swansea City midfielder in his native Korea to recover from minor knee surgery.





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