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Daejeon Hana Citizen midfielder Bae Jun-ho signs for Stoke City

Daejeon Hana Citizen wonderkid Bae Jun-ho has signed for English Championship side Stoke City for an undisclosed fee believed to be worth around £2 million including add-ons.
Stoke City announced on Thursday 31st August, the penultimate day of the English transfer window, that Bae Jun-ho has joined the club on a four-year deal, subject to international clearance.

Bae flew to England on Monday, watched Wednesday's 6-1 EFL Cup win over Rotherham United, and met up with his new teammates on Thursday.

Stoke City's Technical Director Ricky Martin said, speaking to the Potters' official website, that “Junho is an emerging talent who caught the eye of our recruitment team during the U20 World Cup in Argentina this summer," and while tracking his appearances this season, had "continued to demonstrate his technical ability and a profile that we believe fits into the framework of our squad."

Image via stokecityfc.com 

Bae, meanwhile, said: “This is a dream come true because I have always wanted to have the opportunity to play in England. This is only the beginning for me and I intend to have a long and successful career with Stoke City.

"Moving to England will be something which I need to adapt to, on and off the pitch, but I intend to do so as soon as possible and to help the team with my performances.”

Bae's last appearance as a Daejeon Hana Citizen player was in Friday's clash away to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

The Stoke Sentinel newspaper reported on Wednesday, August 23rd that the Potters had "raised the transfer fee on as many as four occasions" and even ended up offering double their initial bid.

The same report also says that Stoke City sent a scout to watch him in person and the player's agent has watched all of the Potters' three league games this term as the club convinced Bae that the bet365 Stadium is the best destination to continue his development.

Who is Bae Jun-ho?

For any Stoke City fans wondering about their club's new signing, Bae Jun-ho, 20, is a Daejeon Hana Citizen academy product who broke into the first team last year when the club was in K League 2. He made eight appearances, seven from the start and scored once - the game's opener in a 3-1 win over Seoul E-Land in Round 27 last July.

This season, he's scored two in 16 appearances in K League 1 in a season that has seen Daejeon make a positive start to live back in the top flight. His most recent was something to behold, slick link-up play and clinical finish helped Daejeon pick up a 4-3 win over FC Seoul.

When a hot prospect comes into the first team there's usually a bit of buzz among supporters. But fans haven't been quite as excited by a young player breaking through since current Olympiacos midfielder Hwang In-beom in 2015. He was recently chosen to play in a team of K League all-stars that beat Atletico Madrid 3-2 in July.

Daejeon are an ambitious club and in 2019 were the subject of a big-money takeover with Hana Financial Group bankrolling their promotion charge since then. The club's academy produces the odd gem but with K League's U22 rule, which stipulates that all teams must field one player under the age of 22 and name one on the bench to be able to make five substitutions, young players are often afforded first-team minutes earlier than they might be expecting. 

Some managers will drag their U22 players off after 20 minutes or even much earlier but Bae, as too his teammate Jeon Byeon-kwan, have been in Daejeon's starting XI on merit. Seldom have they been brought off earlier because they've both produced.

He's a quiet and unassuming young man and has only recently begun to come out of his shell. He has been a bit more confident and shown more selfishness in and around the box. He'll be a big loss to Daejeon who are looking to seal survival in K League 1 and potentially a place in the AFC Champions League for next season. 

KLU Podcast



Full episode: here

Stats

2022 (K League 2)

Goals: 1 (1.29 xG)
Passing accuracy: 90%
Passes to final third accuracy: 83%
Passes to penalty area accuracy: 60%
Forward passing accuracy: 79%
Backward passing accuracy: 100%
Crossing accuracy: 33%
Offensive duels won: 44%

2023 (K League 1)

Goals: 2 (xG 1.85)
Passing accuracy: 83%
Long passing accuracy: 50%
Through passing accuracy: 25%
Passes to final third accuracy: 70%
Passing to penalty area accuracy: 54%
Forward passing accuracy: 76%
Backward passing accuracy: 94%
Offensive duels won: 34%

Highlights

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