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Weekly Transfer Review (July 10 - July 16)

Welcome Back Home! Heavy rains and joyful tears filled the week 2 of the K League summer transfer window as some familiar faces made their long-awaited returns.
(image via steelers.co.kr)

Classic

Pohang Steelers fans were filled with joy as the club announced Kim Seung-dae's come back 17 months after he left his hometown for Chinese side, Yanbian Fude. The 26-year-old headed to China after 2015 season, but decided to return to the Steelyard as Yanbian tried to make changes to move up from the relegation zone.

Kim Seung-dae's return could not have been made possible without another Korean joining Yanbian as a replacement; Jeju United officially announced that agile winger Hwang Il-su moved to Yanbian Fude at an undisclosed fee. The 29-year-old has recently made his international debut after impressive performances at Jeju United.
On the other hand, Jeju also confirmed the return of Ryu Seung-woo. Jeju United was the first professional club for the 23-year-old who caught the eyes of European clubs at the 2013 U20 World Cup. Ryu Seung-woo immediately joined German club Bayer Leverkusen on a loan deal and soon made a permanent move to the German side. He has played in second-division club Beielefield and Ferencvárosi(Hungary) on loan, and eventually chose to come back to the volcanic island.

Another familiar face came back to the league although in a different shirt. FC Seoul surprised fans with the signing of former Ulsan forward Ivan Kovačec. The 29-year-old Croatian terminated his contract with Ulsan Hyundai in early June but returned to Korea only a month after, this time wearing the red-black striped shirts of the reigning K League champions. While fans expressed concern at the signing, Kovačec will need to prove that the disappointing performance he showed in the first half of 2017 season will not continue at his new club.



(image via seolelandfc.com)

Challenge

Two Challenge clubs reached on an agreement for a trade; Seoul E-Land FC signed left fullback Yoo Ji-hoon, while Busan IPark brought Lee Joon-hee from the Olympic Stadium. Yoo Ji-hoon is a 29-year-old fullback who can also play as a winger. His versatility will be greatly appreciated by Seoul E-Land manager Kim Byung-soo, who will need to prove himself at his first professional club as a manager. Busan's gaffer Cho Jin-ho stated aggressive fullback Lee Joon-hee will be suitable for his attacking style.



(image via incheonutd.com)

Rumours

Incheon United can lose Han Seok-jong in the middle of an important season as Korean sports media SPOTV NEWS reported on an exclusive that UAE Pro League side Al-Wasl F.C. is set to loan the 24-year-old South Korean. Han Seok-jong joined Incheon United before this season, after leading his former club Gangwon FC to promotion. However, Incheon has officially denied the rumour, stating that the club cannot afford to lose a key player like Han Seok-jong at a crisis. He played his 100th game at Incheon on Sunday.

Korean football podcast Hidden Football K specualted that Jeju United wingback and 2016 K League Young Player of the Year Ahn Hyun-Beom may be a target by a couple of Seoul metropolitan region clubs. Although the names of the clubs were not disclosed, Jeju could lose another key player in the middle of the season if the rumour is correct.

Suwon Samsung is keeping an eye on Seoul E-Land defender Jeon Min-gwang. SPOTV NEWS reported on 15 July that Suwon, desperate for a back-up defender after a series of injuries, is chasing the 24-year-old defender who joined the Challenge club in 2015. However, Seoul E-Land manager Kim Byung-soo confirmed that he will not let Jeon Min-gwang move at the moment.

Angolan veteran striker Manucho is being chaed by several clubs, including a K League club, according to Rayo Vallecano's official radio, Unión Rayo. The 34-year-old gained fame when Manchester United signed him in 2008, but he failed to break into the first team at the Red Devils. After spells at Panathinaikos, Hull City, Valladolid and Turkish clubs, he settled himself at Rayo Vallecano where he played between 2014 and 2017, scoring 14 goals in 103 league matches. As Manucho will not renew his contract at Rayo Vallecano, he is currently receiving offers from several clubs abroad including one in K League - although the radio did not specify the name of the club.

On the other hand, K League fans might be breathing a sigh of relief as the Chinese Super League transfer window officially ended on 14 July. After a series of radical rule changes intended to regulate astronomical spendings in Chinese football, Super League clubs have spent a relatively quiet summer, with only one K League player (Hwang Il-su) heading to the free-spending league. 

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