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2024 Season Preview: Can Seongnam return to K League 1 after a disappointing 2023 season?



After an underwhelming 2023 season, can Seongnam climb up the racks and comeback to the pinnacle of South Korea football?

LAST SEASON’S RÉSUMÉ

In 2023, Seongnam played in K League 2 and the expectations were high, especially because the supporters were expecting a “Yo-Yo” type season where “The Magpies” would comeback to K League 1 instantly after getting relegated. A combination of highs and lows performances with lack of concentration in key moments dictated a 9th place finish, far away from a playoff spot.

With all the negatives there was space for positives and two of them came by the name of Manzinga and Gabriel Honorio. The foreigner duo played well, especially Gabriel. The Brazilian winger was unplayable at times and he become a major piece for Seongnam’s aspirations of promotion.



TRANSFER WINDOW

Like 2023, Seongnam had a difficult transfer window to rate because Seongnam lost key veteran players as well as some promising “young” players like Park Tae-jun (24) and Lee Sang-min (24).

Although difficult to rate, one thing is clear and that’s the fact that the squad got older even though Kim Young-kwang (40), Shim Dong-woon (33) and Kwon Soon-hyung (37) left the club.

Key transfers

In:

- Kim Jeong-hwan (26)

- Alibaev Ikromzhon (30)

- Han Seok-jeong (31)

- Lee Jeong-hyeop (32)

- Jung Seung-yong (32)

- Jung Won-jin (29)

- Yu Sang-hun (34)

- Park Kwang-il (32)

- Oh Jae-hyeok (21) (on loan)





Out:

- Lee Jae-won (26)

- Kim Jin-rae (26)

- Park Tae-jun (24)

- Denilson (25)

- Lee Sang-min (24)

- Patrick Flotterman (26)

- Kuk Tae-jung (27)

- Kim Young-kwang (40)

- Shim Dong-woon (33)

- Kwon Soon-hyung (37)

ALL-IN SEASON

With the squad getting older fans can came to two conclusions, Seongnam is going for promotion and is abdicating the short/mid-term future of the team. The acquisition of Alibaev, Lee Jeong-hyeop and Yu Sang-hun as well as the departures of Park Tae-jun, Lee Jae-won and Kim Jin-rae are very good examples.

Alibaev, Jeong-hyeop and Sang-hun are veterans who are used to K League football and elevate the K League 2 team’s level, while Tae-jun, Jae-won and Jin-rae are players entering their prime years. It’s definitely an all-in season for “The Magpies”, with the board saying they were focus on getting Seongnam back to K League and also the desire to get it right when it comes down to foreigner signings.


2024 PREVIEW

Seongnam has a good squad, capable of reaching the playoffs but if the major problems from last season, defensive stability, concentration and the inability to keep leads, aren’t solved the same destiny awaits.

With a good transfer window comes high expectations, with high expectations comes responsability. Everything is in Lee Ki-hyung hands, anything but playoffs will be seen as na underwhelming season and, different from last year, there are no more chances for the 49 year old coach to prove himself to the supporters as a capable coach. With last season’s disappointment some fans started to doubt Lee Ki-hyung and the movement “#LeeKiHyungOUT” was seen on social media.



The 2024 season is very important for the club due to the high demands and expectations from the fans, the public position made from the board regarding the objective of promotion and the pressure on Lee Ki-hyung shoulders.

It will be a season full of drama, tension, intense moments and emotions! Most definitely a season to keep an eye on for Seongnam FC.


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