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Column: FC Seoul should have re-signed Dejan

"Summer Dejan" ended August with his sixth goal of the 2020 K League 1 campaign, firing Daegu FC into a second minute lead in the 10-goal thriller with Gwangju FC in Round 18. The Montenegrin ace, of course, made his name by becoming FC Seoul's all-time leading goalscorer before moving to Suwon Bluewings in 2018. After leaving Big Bird on a Bosman, FC Seoul should have to whatever they could to re-sign Dejan.

First of all, it has to be said that this not an attack on any player who currently plays for FC Seoul or Suwon Bluewings for that matter; circumstances are different and both clubs have experienced a fair amount of upheaval with managers departing mid-season. Rather, it is merely a comparison.

However, it was with hindsight an error of judgement for Seoul to not bring Dejan back when they had the chance to over the winter. Likewise, it was in hindsight a mistake for Suwon to freeze Dejan out in the latter half of 2019 before allowing him to leave so unceremoniously.

The former Montenegrin international has proved to be a key part of Lee Byung-geun's Daegu FC side this year, be it off the bench of from the start. A goal return of six from six starts and 16 appearances overall is more than respectable and Dejan is on course to come close to 200 K League goals before the season is out. But how do Dejan's stats compare to that of his contemporaries at both Seoul and Suwon?

Adam Taggart is the Bluewings' leading scorer in 2020 with five.
Taking into account the top scorers and recognised strikers at his most recent club, Suwon Bluewings, last year's Golden Boot winner Adam Taggart is their leading marksman with five - a decent return for a team struggling at the wrong end of the table. Also, Taggart's xG is actually the fourth-best in K League 1 at 7.46.

But, other than the Socceroo, most of Suwon's goals have come from midfield. Kim Min-woo's brace against Busan bumped him up to second on four goals, while the rest of the Bluewings' hitmen have managed a couple of goals at best.

Name
Goals
xG
Adam Taggart
5
7.46
Kim Min-woo
4
2.08
Sulejman Krpić
2
1.2
Ko Seung-beom
2
1.1
Yeom Ki-hun
2
1.46
Kim Gun-hee
1
0.56
Han Eui-kwon
0
0.1

Adriano has failed to score even once since returning to FC Seoul in the winter
At FC Seoul the statistics are a little more damning, however. Seoul went all-in on Adriano over the winter, seemingly opting to bring back the engimatic Brazilian in favour of Dejan. The 32-year-old hasn't scored at all since returning and is yet to even complete 90 minutes.

The capital club's top scorer is Yun Ju-tae with three while Park Chu-young and midfielder Han Seung-gyu are both on two goals each. Seoul have six players all on one goal apiece. As a team, FC Seoul's xG is one of the worst in the division so it is perhaps of little surprise to see such low numbers among their attacking players.


Player
Goals
xG
Yun Ju-tae
3
2.51
Park Chu-young
2
1.91
Han Seung-gyu
2
1.34
Adriano
0
0.83

Dejan

Dejan is Daegu FC's second-top goalscorer with six compared to an xG of 4.18 from just six starts, 16 appearances overall. This is a better expected goals ratio than anyone at FC Seoul, and double the goal tally of their leading goal scorer Yun Ju-tae. Meanwhile, at Big Bird, Dejan has one more goal than Taggart does heading into Round 19.

Other Contributions

How are Seoul and Suwon's attackers comparing when taking assists into account? Dejan has one assist to his name from an xA of 0.79, has laid on seven shot assists and has two second assists also. This puts him ahead of Park Chu-young, Yun Ju-tae and Adriano at FC Seoul. Compared to Suwon, Dejan is on par with Krpić and is ahead of all but Yeom Ki-hun and Ko Seung-beom but neither are strikers.

Suwon Bluewings

Player
Assists
xA
Shot Assists
2nd Assists
Yeom Ki-hun
2
3.79
35
0
Ko Seung-beom
2
0.83
14
0
Sulejman Krpić
1
0.07
3
0
Adam Taggart
0
0.6
8
0
Kim Min-woo
0
0.62
9
0
Kim Gun-hee
0
0.03
4
0
Han Eui-kwon
0
0
0
1

FC Seoul

Player
Assists
xA
Shot Assists
2nd Assists
Han Seung-gyu
3
1.37
16
0
Park Chu-young
1
0.16
5
0
Yun Ju-tae
0
0.09
2
0
Adriano
0
0.16
1
0


Summary

The stats show that Seoul have been proven wrong and that Dejan should have been given a chance to end his career with the club where he made a name for himself in Asia. Dare I say, Seoul may even be in the ACL picture had they have brought him back. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but 2020 has been a bit of a waste for FC Seoul, not so much for Dejan Damjanović.

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