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scouting

Under the radar signings this winter

K League's winter transfer window has seen lots of activity with players moving for pastures new both domestically and internationally. Peter Hampshire looks at five winter transfer window signings that may have slipped your attention but may prove to be shrewd investments this season.

Kim Sang-won (Pohang Steelers to Suwon FC)

Kim's fifth club in as many seasons, the left back may be seen as a journeyman squad player by some but certainly still has plenty to offer his new side. Impressing at Anyang in 2019 by notching six goals and six assists from defence, Kim earned a move to Pohang last winter but found himself in and out of the side. With Kang Sang-woo's return to the Steelyard, Kim Gi-dong felt it right to allow Kim the chance to showcase his talents elsewhere. The only defender to rank in the top 20 of expected combined goals and assists in K League 2 in 2019, the 28-year-old also ranked highly in key passes and progressive runs at Anyang. Paul Neat assesses Kim's move in the transfer podcast below.

                           [LISTEN: Four Pre-season podcasts including a transfer episode]

Kim Sang-won in action for Anyang in 2019.

Yoon Ju-tae (FC Seoul to Gyeongnam FC)

Scoring three times in the Asian Champions League in November provided Yoon Ju-tae with an end of season boost ahead of his move down to Changwon to sign for K League 2 title hopefuls Gyeongnam. Arriving at FC Seoul in 2014 from the 2.Bundesliga, Yoon has never been a prolific figure but will provide good link up play and guile around the box. While fellow new attacking signings Lee Jeong-hyup, Willyan and Hernandez may take the limelight, Yoon's versatility across the front line will ensure he sees plenty of game time.

Hong Joon-ho (Gwangju FC to FC Seoul)

FC Seoul have made some high profile signings in the transfer window with Aleksandar Paločević and Na Sang-ho set to revitalise Park Jin-sub's attacking options at Sangam. However, with the second worst defence in K League 1 last season they will certainly welcome Hong Joon-ho bolstering their back line. 27-year-old Hong reunites with his former boss having seriously impressed at the heart of Gwangju's defence last season. A major reason why Park Jin-sub was able to finish in Final Round A with Gwangju, Hong ranked first in K League 1 for interceptions and joint fourth in terms of shots blocked. Comfortable with the ball at his feet, Hong adapted well to Park's attacking gung-ho philosophy.

Hong Joon-ho celebrating his goal in a 3-3 draw with Jeonbuk - September 2020

Stefan Mugoša (Incheon United)

Successfully extending Stefan Mugoša's contract at the Munhak could prove to be Incheon's best business this transfer window. The Montenegrin international has bagged an impressive 45 K League goals in three seasons in K League and at 28-years-old remains in his prime. Signing until 2023 Mugoša will join new signings Oh Jae-suk, Harrison Delbridge and Guilherme Negueba this term as Jo Sung-hwan's side look to make a better start to this season than 2020 when they went 15 games without a win. Mugoša's goal in a win at Daegu set Incheon on a path to safety that saw them win four of their last seven games including two victories over rivals FC Seoul.  

                            [READ: What K League means to me - Stefan Mugoša interview]

Mugoša scoring against FC Seoul in September 2020

Sergui Buș (FCSB to Seongnam FC)

Magpies fans waiting through January for a replacement for outbound talisman Na Sang-ho and two have come along at once. Sergui Buș will join Serbian striker Fejsal Mulic in a new look forward line at Tancheon. With some impressive clubs on his C.V. such as FCSB in his native Romania and Europa League regulars Levski Sofia, Buș also spent time at Sheffield Wednesday in the English championship. Kim Nam-il may be looking at a change in style this season with two bustling strikers looking to weave their way through K League's defensive traffic. 

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