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Transfer: Kim Seung-joon and Han Ji-ho swap deal

Kim Seung-joon

Busan IPark have strengthened their options up front with the capture of Kim Seung-joon from Gyeongnam FC, part of a swap deal which has sent Busan IPark's club legend Han Ji-ho the other way. KLU's Todd Wilde assesses the two players and the potential benefits for both clubs.


The Deal

Kim Seung-joon has joined Busan IPark on a loan deal until the end of the season from his parent club Gyeongnam FC. Han Ji-ho has joined Gyeongnam in a similar arrangement. This is a deal without risk for either club, as players that were at one point vitally important to the team have been deemed surplus to requirements by Cho Duk-jae and Seol Ki-hyeon. Cho has given Han Ji-ho 60 minutes of action off the bench this season as an impact substitute, whilst Seol has played just once in 2020, for 67 minutes in Gyeongnam's 3-1 loss to Suwon FC.

Kim Seung-joon



Kim arrives in Busan at a critical point in his career. At 25 years old, Kim should be approaching his peak, having broken through into a talented Ulsan squad at 20 years of age, racking up 111 appearances for the Horangi including nine in the AFC Champions League. After falling out of favour in the 2018 season, the former Korean U23 international moved to Gyeongnam as they strengthed to compete on three fronts, and Kim initially impressed for the Changwon based side as he scored twice in the Champions League group stage against Shandong Luneng.

Ultimately, the move would turn out to be a disaster, as Kim netted just six goals in 29 league games as Gyeongnam were relegated to the second division. K League United's Gyeongnam columnist James Edrupt notes that Kim is an extremely talented individual, capable of making intelligent runs in the channels and getting into good shooting positions. Kim linked up well with Takahiro Kunimoto last season, however the striker has been observed to go missing if he isn't provided with reliable support from out wide or a second striker.

Kim Seung-joon

Kim Seung-joon celebrates his team's goal against Kashiwa Antlers in the 2019 ACL

Given that Busan have often struggled in their link up play in the final third, Kim could be relied upon to offer a Plan B as part of a front two, possibly feeding off mobile target man Lee Jeong-hyeop, who was so effective at releasing Lee Dong-jun behind defences last season. Out wide, Lee Dong-jun may be relied upon to form an effective attacking supply line from the right wing, with Kim Byong-oh providing similar service from a deeper position on the opposite side.
  

Han Ji-ho




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| 한지호 임대 영입 ⠀⠀ 부산 아이파크에서 한지호를 임대 영입, 김승준을 부산 아이파크로 맞임대 보내기로 했습니다. 두 선수의 임대 기간은 올 시즌 말까지 6개월입니다. 한지호 선수는 “경남에서 저를 불러주셔서 감사하게 생각한다.”며 “경남이 원하는 목표에 다가 설 수 있도록 최선을 다하겠다.”라고 입단 소감을 밝혔습니다. ⠀⠀ ✔ 한지호 선수 프로필 생년월일 : 1988년 12월 15일 포지션 : MF 출신교 : 서울연촌초-경신중-안동고-홍익대 신장/체중 : 180cm/74kg ⠀⠀ 출전 기록 - K리그 통산 289경기 출전, 37득점, 24도움 ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 경남FC에서 멋진 활약을 펼칠 한지호 선수에게 많은 응원 부탁드립니다! 자세한 내용은 포스트를 참고 부탁드립니다. ⠀⠀⠀⠀ #K리그 #경남FC #GyeongnamFC #투혼경남 #한지호 #웰컴
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Han Ji-ho arrives in Gyeongnam with an incredible pedigree, having enjoyed a fantastic career at Busan IPark. The homegrown player, a graduate from Hongik University, made his debut in 2010 and has racked up 24 goals in 231 appearances, making him the 3rd highest appearance maker for the club. Aside from a eighteen month stint at police side Ansan Mugunghwa in 2016, where he scored a career best ten league goals, Han has spent his entire career running the left wing for the Royals.

It is a mark of just how revered Han is in the port city that a banner dedicated towards Han has been hung up at most IPark games, home and away, in recent years. This banner was the only one dedicated to a player for Wednesday night's FA Cup tie against Hwaseong, flown in tribute to an excellent career's service. Whilst Han arguably no longer has the talent to shine in the top tier of Korean football, his work rate, passion, attitude and leadership is second to none, and Han led the club valiently as club captain in their 2019 promotion campaign.


Han Ji-ho's banner at the Gudeok Stadium



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An important player for the side for several years, Han has declined significantly in the past two years, and has struggled for minutes under Cho Duk-jae. He has lost the pace that made Han and Kim Moon-hwan a formidable pair on opposite wings in the 2017 season, one where Busan narrowly failed to win promotion and lost in the FA Cup final.

However, Han has not lost his composure in possession, and is a good short passer and tactically aware - attributes which will suit Han in the slower paced and less physical second division. The winger is relatively defensively minded, and so could also be deployed as a deep wide option, effectively a second wing back when Gyeongnam are defending a narrow lead.

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