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scouting

Busan IPark 2021 Player Profiles

New Busan IPark coach Ricardo Peres has overseen a significant reshuffle in playing staff this winter as the Royals prepare for life in the K League 2. Among the new faces is the second division’s reigning MVP, an experienced Cypriot centre back, and three Korean youth internationals. Can they help Busan make a charge for the playoffs? Tomas Marcantonio takes a closer look at Busan’s class of 2021.

(Image courtesy of Busan IPark)


Squad Overview



Forwards

7. Kim Byong-oh (31 years old - LW)
{2020: 20 games, 0 goals, 1 assist}
A favourite of previous manager Cho Deok-jae, Kim is a talented dribbler and a hard worker, but his lack of end product and failure to link up with teammates often frustrates supporters. Yet to score his first Busan goal, but has plenty of experience at K2 level.

9. An Byong-jun (30 - CF) [NEW SIGNING] 
{2020: 26 games, 21 goals, 3 assists for Suwon FC}
North Korean international was the K League 2 top scorer and MVP last season with Suwon FC. Having reportedly failed multiple medicals at Gangwon FC due to knee injury concerns, Busan’s marquee signing is something of a risk. If it pays off, the Royals have arguably the league’s finest striker in their ranks. Good in the air and deadly with both feet, An is equally adept at scoring poacher’s tap-ins and long-range drives.

11. Park Jeong-in (20 - CAM/CF/LW) [NEW SIGNING] *U22
{2020: 7 games, 0 goals, 1 assist for Ulsan Hyundai} 
An exciting attacking player, Park started six games for Ulsan last season. Scored on his final appearance for the club in a 4-1 ACL win over Shanghai Shenhua, and bagged a few goals for Busan in pre-season playing up front. Seen as one of Korea’s brightest young talents, his signing is a real coup for Busan.

20. Lee Tae-min (17 - LW/RW/CF) [NEW SIGNING] *U22
{2020: N/A} 
A speedy, bold 17 year-old who impressed Peres on both wings during pre-season. Top scorer at the 2019 U17 K League Youth Championship with ten goals in five games.

27. Domagoj Drozdek (24 - LW/CF) [NEW SIGNING] 
{2020/21: 13 games, 1 goal for NK Varazdin} 
Croatian forward who used to be on the books of Borussia Dortmund. Has spent the past three and a half years in his homeland, scoring 27 goals in 94 appearances for Lokomotiva Zagreb and Varazdin. A 16-goal haul in the 2017/18 season earned him league MVP in the Croatian second division. A right footed left winger, Drozdek could finally be the answer to Busan’s problem position.

34. Kang Yeong-woong (21 - CF/RW/CAM) [NEW SIGNING] *U22
{2020: N/A - Soongsil University} 
The young forward has been described as a goal-getter, but also selfless. Can play in a variety of attacking roles.

77. Jung Hoon-sung (27 - RW) [NEW SIGNING]
{2020: 5 games, 1 goal, 0 assists for Ulsan Hyundai} 
Diminutive winger signed from ACL winners Ulsan Hyundai, but has spent the majority of his career in the K League 3 (84 games, 15 goals combined for Mokpo City and Gangneung City). A speedy and skillful left footer, Jung has the unenviable task of replacing Lee Dong-jun on the right wing.

78. Eo Jeong-won (21 - RW/LW) [NEW SIGNING] *U22
{2020: N/A – Dongguk University} 
A two-footed dribbler who played on both wings in pre-season friendlies and bagged a couple of goals, including one against title favourites Gimcheon Sangmu FC.

Midfielders

8. Park Jong-woo (31 - CDM/CM/CB) [CO-CAPTAIN]
{2020: 19 games, 1 goal, 1 assist} 
The top tackler in the K League 1 last season, Park is aggressive and a natural leader in the middle of the park. Played for Korea under four different national team managers, and enjoyed successful spells abroad with Guangzhou R&F, Al Jazira, and Emirates. Vast experience will be vital to Busan’s crop of youngsters.

10. Lee Sang-heon (23 - CAM/LW/CF) [NEW SIGNING]
{2020: 8 games, 1 goal, 0 assists for Ulsan Hyundai} 
A bit-part player for Ulsan over the past two seasons, but showed what he can do while on loan at Jeonnam Dragons in 2018. Scored five goals in 21 appearances that year, and he might turn a few heads with a regular run of games in the second division. A possible break-out year for the Korea youth international.

14. Kim Jeong-hyun (27 - CDM/CM/CB)
{2020: 8 games, 1 goal, 0 assists} 
A tall and combative central midfielder who is also neat and tidy on the ball. Missed much of last year through injury, but impressed in the final two months of the season despite the team’s poor form. Spent four seasons in Japan with Oita Trinita, and was virtually an ever-present in Seongnam’s promotion in 2018. Could become a key player for Busan this year.

19. Seong Ho-young (22 - RW/LW/CAM) *U22
{2020: 0 games} 
Featured twice in the FA Cup last season, but the versatile midfielder looks to be down the pecking order on the wings.

22. Lee Rae-jun (23 - CDM/CM/CAM)
{2020: 9 games, 1 goal, 0 assists for Ansan Greeners} 
Lanky midfielder was a surprise signing from Ansan Greeners midway through last season and is yet to make a senior appearance in red. Primarily a defensive midfielder, Lee featured heavily in pre-season in an attacking midfield role, bagging a couple of goals. Might get a few chances to impress.

23. Kim Jin-kyu (24 - CAM/CM/LW) 
{2020: 8 games, 1 goal, 2 assists} 
Having missed the majority of last season with injury, Busan’s most creative player was sorely missed. Quick footed, an intelligent passer, and thrives on link-up play around the box, Kim is also a regular for the Korean U23s. Recently turned 24 and now entering his seventh year with the club, he could be Busan’s star performer this year if he stays fit.

28. Lee Ji-seung (22 - CM/CAM/CDM) *U22
{2020: 1 game, 0 goals, 0 assists} 
Started all three of Busan’s cup games last season, and looked comfortable in possession and positive on the ball. Still an U22 option and will hope for more league minutes this time around. Re-signed after his contract expired at the end of last season.

39. Heo Seung-chan (17 - CAM/CDM/RB) *U22
{2020: N/A} 
A youth team midfielder who grew up idolising new teammate Park Jong-woo, Heo is said to have an excellent tactical reading of the game and the ability to score goals from midfield.

42. Kwon Hyeok-kyu (19 - CAM/CM/LW) *U22
{2020: 16 games, 1 goal, 0 assists} 
A rangy player with box-to-box attributes, Kwon showed plenty of potential with spells in the team last season. Due to begin military service with Gimcheon Sangmu in March.

72. Cheon Ji-hyeon (21 – CAM/LW/RW) [NEW SIGNING] *U22
{2020: N/A - Hannam University} 
A small but speedy player, described as bold and daring. Missed pre-season through injury.

Defenders

3. Park Min-gyu (25 - LB) [LOAN SIGNING]
{2020: 26 games, 0 goals, 4 assists for Suwon FC} 
A former Korean youth international who came through the ranks at FC Seoul, Park was a regular for Suwon FC last season as they achieved promotion from the K League 2. A shrewd loan signing, likely to start the season as first choice left back.

4. Kang Min-soo (35 - CB) [CO-CAPTAIN]
{2020: 20 games, 1 goal, 0 assists} 
A veteran of over 400 K League games and a former regular for the national team, Kang brought experience to a naïve Busan defence last season. At 35 years old, his peak years may be behind him, but he remains a quality defender and a vital presence in the squad.

6. Valentinos Sielis (30 - CB/LB/CDM) [NEW SIGNING]
{2020: 3 games, 0 goals, 0 assists for Jeju United} 
Cyprus international defender signs from Jeju United, though he barely featured in orange last season. Busan will hope he can replicate the form shown at Gangwon FC (2017-19), where he was a solid presence at the back. Left footed, composed on the ball and good in the air, Valentinos could be an outstanding signing if he stays injury free.

15. Kim Seung-woo (22 - CB/CDM) [LOAN SIGNING]
{2020: 1 game, 0 goals, 0 assists for Jeju United} 
Appeared in 2017’s U20 World Cup for Korea, but has only made nine appearances for Jeju United since then. It’s difficult to see him getting regular game time unless there are significant injuries in the centre of defence.

17. Lee Sang-jun (21 - RB/LB/RW) *U22
{2020: 16 games, 0 goals, 0 assists} 
Quick and eager to get forward, Lee showed plenty of promise at left back last season. Needs to improve his final ball and defensive positioning, but he’s one of the most highly-rated youngsters in the squad. Was back-up to Choi Jun in 2019’s U20 World Cup, and is likely to compete with him again for the right-back spot.

21. Choi Jun (21 - RB/LB) [NEW SIGNING] *U22
{2020: 20 games, 2 goals, 3 assists for Gyeongnam FC} 
Impressed at left back for Korea in 2019’s U20 World Cup, and even scored the winning goal in the semi-final against Ecuador. Was back on his favoured right side on loan at Gyeongnam last season. Likes to get forward and looks like a shrewd signing for the future.

32. Cho Hye-seong (18 - LB/RB) *U22
{2020: N/A} 
A full back who appeared on both flanks in pre-season, Cho is described as being quick, a good crosser, and having excellent defensive abilities.

35. Park Ho-young (21 - CB/CF) *U22
{2020: 2 games, 0 goals, 0 assists} 
A towering defender, Park has also been used as an emergency target man in the latter stages of games. Yet to truly convince in either role, but time is on his side. Now entering his fourth season with the club and may get more chances to impress this year.

44. Park Kyung-min (21 - LB/LW) *U22
{2020: 0 games} 
An attack-minded left back, Park only featured in cup games last season but looked lively in his league cameos the previous year. One of IPark’s most promising youngsters, but likely to start the season as a back-up to Park Min-gyu.

45. Hwang Jun-ho (22 - CB)
{2020: 0 games} 
A big centre back, Hwang racked up 15 appearances in Busan’s 2019 promotion season, but he only featured in the FA Cup last year. No longer an U22 option and could find minutes hard to come by.

66. Kim Dong-woo (33 - CB)
{2020: 19 games, 1 goal, 0 assists} 
Experienced defender was a three-time title winner with FC Seoul, but had an inconsistent debut season with Busan. Has now been relegated twice in as many years, having being relegated with Jeju United in 2019. Remains a solid back-up, however.


Goalkeepers

13. Ahn Joon-soo (23 - GK) [NEW SIGNING]
{2020: 12 games, 23 goals conceded, 3 clean sheets for Cerezo Osaka II} 
Korea U23 keeper has spent the past three years in Japan. Signed from high-flying Cerezo Osaka, but only played for the club’s second string in the J League 3 last season. Reports from Japan suggest he was prone to errors, but likely to get chances to develop under Peres.

18. Choi Pil-soo (29 - GK)
{2020: 13 games, 22 goals conceded, 2 clean sheets} 
An underrated keeper who was instrumental in Busan’s promotion in 2019. In and out of the side last year, he eventually regained the number one spot but was helpless to prevent relegation. A good shot-stopper, a very vocal organizer, and composed with crosses.

29. Jin Pil-rip (20 - GK) [NEW SIGNING] *U22
{2020: N/A – Jungwon University} 
Reportedly good with his feet, as he used to play as a defensive midfielder. Featured heavily in pre-season, but likely to start the season as third-choice keeper.



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