Guangzhou Evergrande manager Marcello Lippi has revealed that he discussed the club’s Korean central defender Kim Young-Gwon (pictured, centre-right) with former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, insisting that the player was good enough for the Red Devils.
Kim, who joined Evergrande from Japanese side Omiya Ardija last summer, is a regular with the South Korean national side, and featured for his country at the London 2012 Olympic Games. In the 2013 season, he is one of just two players to have started every game for the Chinese Super League winners.
The comments came in an interview given to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport this week, in which he also confirmed his intention to see out the duration of his contract with the Chinese club.
When asked which of his players have the potential to play in Europe, he offered four names, saying: “Kim Young-Gwon, a Korean defender, makes very few errors. China’s national team captain (sic.) Feng Xiaoting also.
“The Brazilian forward Muriqui, who has scored eight goals in eight games in the Asian Champions League, and then there is also Elkeson. I suggested buying him from Botafogo and he now has 15 goals in 12 games.”
Returning back to the subject of his South Korean defender, Lippi added: “Kim is just 23. I spoke with Ferguson about him, he could definitely play for Manchester United.”
Lippi also suggested that the Evergrande side could finish “mid-table” in Serie A, saying “there are no more than 10 sides who could beat us”.
Now all that remains is for Lippi and his side to back up his comments with victory in the 2013 Asian Champions League—a competition that the club have made top priority for the season.
Author: Christopher Atkins
Based in Guangzhou, Christopher covers Chinese football for a range of media outlets worldwide and is Wild East Football’s lead editor for news content.
His work can regularly be seen on ESPN FC, Bleacher Report and Hupu amongst other media outlets, while he has interviewed a number of leading figures in Chinese football.