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scouting

Kim Ho-young appointed new Gwangju boss

Gwangju have moved quickly to replace Park Jin-sub with former FC Seoul and Gangwon FC manager Kim Ho-young arriving in Jeollanamdo. Kim will be joined by former Gwangju boss Choi Man-hee taking up the role of president, with both having worked in the South Korean National Team setup in their careers.


What Will Kim Inherit?

The Gwangju dressing room appears a turbulent place currently with changes at board room level in the offing and rumours of player involvement in the recruitment process as the shortlist was whittled down. It appears as though the Yellows squad will be overhauled this winter with long-standing players who enjoyed promotion with the club in 2019 set to move on. Gwangju shocked many in K League 1 last season by reaching the top half at the time of the split, playing in an open attacking style that saw them concede plenty in the process. 

Hong Joon-ho leading out Gwangju against Sangju Sangmu this season

The Yellows relied heavily on Hong Jun-ho and Rustam Ashurmatov at the back, with the central defensive pair ranking 1st and 3rd for interceptions in the whole division. It appears that at least one of that partnership will depart with Kim having to forge new links across the pitch. Felipe, Willyan and Yeo Bong-hoon all have suitors early in the transfer window and it will be interesting how Kim utilizes the foreigner spots available. 

The Right Man for the Job?

Kim Ho-young was one of few Korean managers available who have been active in K League 1 management of late. On paper the 51-year-old boasts more managerial experience than his predecessor having been involved with the Korean national team youth sides as far back as 2002. Best known for his spells at Seongnam and Jeonbuk in the 90's as a player, Kim joined former Magpies colleague Lee Jang-soo at Guangzhou Evergrande before working under Marcello Lippi. 

Kim Ho-young was in charge at FC Seoul for nine games this season

On the domestic front however, Kim presided over Gangwon's relegation in 2013 with a points per game ratio of 1.33, while faring better as FC Seoul's caretaker boss this season claiming four wins from nine including a 'SuperMatch' victory against Suwon Samsung Bluewings. Reportedly, towards the end of his spell at Seoul, Kim grew frustrated about the time taken to choose Choi Yong-soo's successsor. While an out of left field appointment might attract more intrigue, it seems prudent to select a manager with recent K League experience, considering Gwangju's likely battle in the bottom half in the coming season.  

January Dealings

One positive for Kim is that he may have a blank canvas to set out a team of his choosing, although budget constraints to compete in the top tier may limit who he can bring in. Gwangju enjoyed success from a counter-attacking style last season with an average possession rate of 40%. Young, energetic talents such as Eom Won-sang enjoyed breakout years with pace supplementing an ageing midfield trio. Should Yeo Reum continue his evergreen legacy at the heart of that midfield, Gwangju will require some younger legs around him. 

Eom Won-sang celebrating his goal against Ulsan Hyundai

Gwangju also have six players finishing their contracts with the club this winter with Kim Chang-soo and Lim Min-hyeok the headline names from a list of six set to become free agents. Winning just three of their last 20 K League games last season, a few fresh faces may benefit Kim as his side look to avoid a hangover from the departure of one of the most successful managers in the club's history, Park Jin-sub.


FNR



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