The great South Korean influx of 2014, as it could be termed, has seen several quality imports from across the East China Sea arrive to the Chinese Super League in the winter transfer window.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed that these switches are occurring and the topic has been covered well by many Asia based journalists thus far. For a different take, Wild East Football spoke to former Shijiazhuang Yongchang Junhao F.C. midfielder Park Jung-Soo who believes Chinese football needs the experience South Korean’s can bring to the league.
“South Korean players want to come to China because, as the Chinese players are getting older, the clubs need to invest in experienced players to help them develop,” said the 27 year old.
“At their older ages they will also get a better deal in China than Korea.”
The suggestion that China needs to add players with greater experience in Asian football is logical and Park also thinks that one player in particular has opened the door for South Korean interest.
“Kim Young-Gwon is a multi-talented player and has helped to raise hope that moves to China create good career moves for Korean players,” he said.
At the time of writing, Beijing Guoan have captured Ha Dae-Sung from F.C. Seoul, Jang Hyun-Soo has moved from F.C. Tokyo to Guangzhou R&F, Hangzhou Greentown signed Son Dae-Ho from Incheon United, Cho Byung-Kuk switched Jubilo Iwata for Shanghai Shenhua and Lim You-Hwan moved to Shanghai Shenxin from Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
(Editors note: Park Jong-Woo and Lee Ji-Nam have since joined Guangzhou R&F and Henan Construction respectively. More info.)
Additionally there has been foreign movement between the two countries, Montenegro international striker Dejan Damjanovic has arrived from F.C. Seoul to Jiangsu Sainty and Belgian Kevin Oris has moved from Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors to Liaoning Whowin.
Park previously turned out for Korean sides Daejeon KHNP and Samcheok Shinwoo, Japanese side Sagan Tosu, China League One side Shijiazhuang and has just transferred to the top tier of Thailand with Chainat FC.
With a vast array of experiences to his name, the midfielder says all those destinations hold a similar appeal for Korean players.
“All four countries are financially stable and attractive, many clubs have expensive facilities there too with good conditions to maintain fitness,” he added.
“I think Thailand is one step below China but at this stage in my career it is still a very good move. China is developing with hands-on experience at the moment, learning by doing.”
Despite activity in the transfer market Park Jung-Soo doesn’t believe his former employers Shijiazhuang, who finished a reasonable eighth in 2013, will have what it takes to push for promotion in 2014.
He also reserved great praise for former colleague Johnny Woodly, a Costa Rican forward, whose future with the club remains uncertain.
“I think Shijiazhuang have not got better players, they will experience a similar result to last season,” he commented.
“Johnny is a great football player and has become very experienced in China in the last few years. His speed, power, determination, movement and of course goals as a striker are important, he is one of the best players I have played with.”