Park Jae-yong to take over for Cho Kyu-sung… ‘Fixer-upper’ instinct is a big trend in K League summer transfers

The 2023 K League 1 summer transfer window has seen clubs rush to sign strikers. Jeonbuk Hyundai finished the job by filling the void left by Cho Kyu-sung with Hangzhou Asian Games representative Park Jae-yong.

Jeonbuk announced on Tuesday that it has acquired 193-centimeter striker Park Jae-yong from K League 2 FC Anyang. The team was in need of a replacement striker after top scorer Cho Kyu-sung (5 goals) left for Danish league side Mittwillan FC, while rumors of a move to the Middle East for sole frontline striker Gustavo added fuel to the fire. After searching for a player until the last day of the K League Two supplementary registration period, the club finalized the signing of Park Jae-yong.

Park Jae-yong has been called the ‘second Cho Kyu-sung’. Both players are former Anyang youth players who made their debut in the K League 2 before moving to Jeonbuk Hyundai. They are similar in that they are both strong, physical, post-playing, goal-scoring strikers.

Born in 2000, Park made his debut for Anyang last year and settled in with two goals in 19 games in his first season, and this year, he topped the team with six goals and one assist in 18 games. As a result, he was selected by Hwang Sun-hong, the coach of the Asian Games team, and was included in the final roster.

However, he has no experience in the K League 1 and will need time to adjust. “Park Jae-yong has many similarities to Cho Kyu-sung in terms of position and growth process,” a Jeonbuk official told The Seoul Shinmun, adding, “We believe that he will be able to play well because of the success of past signings such as Cho Kyu-sung and Park Jin-seop from the K League 2 안전놀이터.”

Mid- and lower-tier clubs have also been on the lookout for relay strikers to break their goal droughts in the summer transfer market. Ninth-ranked Incheon United brought back “Pangum’s Finisher” Mugosa, who left for J-League side Bissel Kobe in June last year. Mugosa, who scored 68 goals in 129 games over four-and-a-half seasons starting in 2018, will add synergy to an attack revitalized around Hernandez (Jerso + Hernandez).

Tenth-ranked Suwon FC also brought in Lopez, who has 52 goals and 33 assists in 161 K League games. After joining Jeju in 2015, Lopez moved to Jeonbuk ahead of the 2016 season, where he was an ace for four seasons, leading the club to three league titles and one AFC Champions League title. He showed flashes of his past against Jeonbuk, threatening the opposition goal with three shots on target.

Last-place Suwon Samsung is looking for a breakthrough with a ‘reliable Brazilian’. On the 19th, the team announced that it had signed Weric Popo from Red Bull Bragançinho of the Brazilian First Division on loan, saying, “He is 190 centimeters tall and has a daring charge and quick shooting timing. With a variety of attacking options, we expect him to score more goals in the second half of the season.”

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