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scouting

What Connor Chapman will bring to FC Seoul

FC Seoul have signed former Incheon United, Pohang Steelers and Daejeon Hana Citizen defensive midfielder Connor Chapman, an 18-month deal. With Seoul struggling in the lower reaches of the K League 1 table, what can Chapman bring to the side? Paul Neat takes a look.

On a free transfer, the addition of Connor Chapman makes perfect sense for FC Seoul, who have already added Ji Dong-won and Gabriel Barbosa Avelino to boost their attacking options. Chapman knows the league, can play in a couple of different positions and, perhaps most importantly, can add something which Seoul currently lack.

FC Seoul are at the wrong end of the table despite having a fair bit of quality in manager Park Jin-sub’s strongest 11. Seoul have lots of technicians - few are better than Ki and Osmar in the centre of the park. But they have lacked a bit of aggression in their own third and don’t have the type of player amongst their ranks who can take the game by the scruff of the neck.

Chapman can bring that aggression, a bit of drive and energy to the team, not to mention his qualities on the ball. During his time with Pohang Steelers in K League 1 in 2018, Chapman picked up four assists, ranked fifth in K League 1 for interceptions made, was joint third for shots blocked, seventh overall for passes made, and 12th for passes into the final third and as a screening midfielder no less. His contributions are much more than just getting stuck in.

Chapman's K League heat maps: Incheon 2017 (L), Pohang 2018 (C), Daejeon 2020 (R)

Heat map via Wyscout

But there is a perception that Seoul have a lot of midfielders already. They may have done at one point before the season got underway but that was before Ju Se-jong left for Gamba Osaka, Alibaev departed, ironically to Chapman's last club, Daejeon, and Han Chan-hee and Jung Hyeon-cheol joined Gimcheon as part of their mandatory military service. Aside from Ki, Osmar and Paločević, the only recognised senior midfielders to feature for Seoul this season are Go Yo-han (two appearances), and the aforementioned Han Chan-hee (six appearances, three starts). In short, Seoul are short in midfield.

They are also short at centre back and currently have just Hong Jun-ho, an out-of-form and out-of-shape Hwang Hyun-soo and Kim Won-gun who doesn’t look the same player post-injury. Only three different centre backs have featured over 10 times for Seoul this season so far, that includes Hong Jun-ho who has been used as a makeshift centre forward.

Eulji Lewis

But regardless of what formation Park Jin-sub uses after the break - his two favourites being either 4-2-3-1 (58%) or 3-5-2 (15%) - there is sufficient scope for that trio of Chapman, Ki and Osmar to play in the same team. 

For Chapman, as FC Seoul will be his fourth K League club in five years, the move will serve as an opportunity to prove his fitness and get his career back on track.

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