The Korea Herald

ssg
피터빈트

Celtic target Yang Hyun-jun declares desire to move to Europe

By Yonhap

Published : June 26, 2023 - 09:10

    • Link copied

Yang Hyun-jun of Gangwon FC (Left) dribbles past Kim Hyun-hun of Suwon FC during the clubs' K League 1 match at Suwon Stadium in Suwon, 30 kilometers south of Seoul, on Sunday. (Yonhap) Yang Hyun-jun of Gangwon FC (Left) dribbles past Kim Hyun-hun of Suwon FC during the clubs' K League 1 match at Suwon Stadium in Suwon, 30 kilometers south of Seoul, on Sunday. (Yonhap)

Caught between a European club wanting his services and his current team hoping to hold onto him, Gangwon FC attacker Yang Hyun-jun has made it clear he'd like to play overseas someday.

"It's a dream for every player to go to Europe," Yang said after a 1-1 draw against Suwon FC in a K League 1 match Sunday, three days after Gangwon acknowledged having received an offer from Scottish champions Celtic FC for the promising 21-year-old.

"I know our team is in a difficult situation, but I want to challenge myself in Europe," Yang added. "I'd like to bank on my aggressiveness to play in Europe."

Celtic, fresh off a Scottish treble, already employ a young South Korean attacker in Oh Hyeon-gyu, who joined them during the winter transfer window in January this year.

With the European season going from late summer to spring the following year, Yang said joining a new club during the summer transfer window, prior to the start of a new campaign, would make his transition easier.

"I've told the team that an opportunity to move overseas doesn't come often," Yang said. "When I had an offer from the United States, I stayed put here because my goal was to go to Europe. And Gangwon told me they would be supportive if an offer from Europe came. Honestly, I'd love to go to Celtic because they made a good offer."

Gangwon have balked at what would be a midseason departure for Yang from the K League 1, especially since they're stuck in the relegation zone. Following Sunday's draw, Gangwon remained in 11th place among 12 teams in the K League 1 with 13 points, four above Suwon Samsung Bluewings. Gangwon are winless in nine matches, with three draws and six losses.

The two worst teams in the top division each year will play promotion-relegation playoffs against clubs from the K League 2, with the two losing teams ending up in the second division for the following season.

"Even if I don't get to move in the summer, my desire to go to Europe won't change," Yang said. "And I will continue to play my best for Gangwon. That's what pros do."

Yang has been held to a goal and an assist in 18 matches this season. He had a breakout campaign a year ago, netting eight goals and setting up four others in 36 appearances. Yang also earned his first senior national team call-up last fall.

The sluggish start to the season forced Gangwon to make a coaching change earlier this month, and new boss Yoon Jong-hwan made his Gangwon debut Sunday. In his pregame presser, Yoon said the transfer saga surrounding Yang had been a distraction.

"This is between the club and the agent, but if the agent keeps leaking things to the media, it can affect the player," Yoon said. "I just hope the parties involved will keep things under wraps and work quietly. Going to the media with leaks is only making the situation difficult, and it puts a greater burden on the player." (Yonhap)