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K League cellar-dwelling Seongnam FC sign forward Lee Jong-ho

This photo provided by Seongnam FC on Wednesday, shows the K League 1 club's new forward, Lee Jong-ho. (Yonhap)
This photo provided by Seongnam FC on Wednesday, shows the K League 1 club's new forward, Lee Jong-ho. (Yonhap)

Mired in the bottom of the K League 1 tables, Seongnam FC signed veteran forward Lee Jong-ho in free agency Wednesday, tasking the 30-year-old with kick-starting a dormant offense.

Lee will begin his 12th professional season with his fourth club and will join the only winless club so far in the K League 1 this season. With two draws and three losses, Seongnam FC sit two points back of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in last place and have scored three times in those five games.

Lee was a longtime franchise star for Jeonnam Dragons, for whom he made his club debut in 2011. With his stocky build and goal scoring prowess, Lee drew comparisons to former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney.

After five seasons with Jeonnam, Lee played for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Ulsan Hyundai FC in the K League, and then V-Varen Nagasaki in Japan.

Lee rejoined Jeonnam in 2020 and helped them to the FA Cup title last year while in the second-division K League 2. They became the first second-tier club to win the FA Cup.

In 254 career K League matches, Lee has scored 61 goals and collected 21 assists.

Seongnam noted that Lee is a rugged offensive player who covers a lot of ground and has a great nose for the goal.

"He brings a ton of experience, and as captain of his previous team, he should also provide leadership for our young attackers," Seongnam head coach Kim Nam-il said. "We also felt he could add some energy up and down our lineup."

Lee thanked Seongnam for showing him faith and giving him a fresh start.

"Winning the FA Cup last year gave me so much confidence, and I'd like to help write a new history with Seongnam," Lee said. "I will commit myself to helping the club as much as I can." (Yonhap)

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