SEOUL– Struggling South Korean football champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors acquired rising star Kim Jin-gyu on Thursday, hoping the 25-year-old can give them a shot in the arm in midfield.
Jeonbuk, the five-time defending K League 1 champions, plucked Kim off the second-tier club Busan IPark.
The midfielder debuted in 2015 at age 18, and has put up 18 goals and 11 assists in 135 career games.
Internationally, Kim helped South Korea to the 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship title and also represented the country at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
He made his senior international debut in January this year and scored in each of his first two matches — against Iceland and then Moldova. He was called up to the latest iteration of the national team Monday, with South Korea scheduled to play two World Cup qualifying matches later this month.
Jeonbuk have been the shell of themselves so far this season, having lost three straight matches to fall to 11th place among 12 clubs with one win, one draw and three losses. They have managed just two goals and have conceded five.
Jeonbuk have had multiple wingers and full backs sidelined with injuries, while their two co-leading scorers from 2021, Gustavo and Stanislav Iljutcenko, have been held scoreless.
Jeonbuk are counting on Kim to bolster their midfield corps with his passing skills and high energy.
Kim is expected to make his Jeonbuk debut Saturday against Gimcheon Sangmu FC.
Source: Yonhap News Agency