‘Kim Ji-soo laughs…, Yang Hyun-joon cries….’ Recently, two ‘youngsters’ representing the K League had mixed fortunes in their quest to reach Europe.
Kim Ji-soo (19), who played for Seongnam FC, succeeded in joining Brentford in the English Premier League, while Yang Hyun-joon (21) of Gangwon FC received an offer from Celtic in Scotland, but it fell through.
The two K-Leaguers, who have been the center of attention in this summer’s transfer market, are both eerily similar and vastly different. They are two of the most promising youngsters in the K League, and are essential resources that their clubs don’t want to lose. They both waited patiently for the opportunity to go abroad last winter and got their chance this summer. Their respective clubs are also similar. Seongnam is looking for promotion back to the top flight for the 2023 season, while Gangwon is desperate for wins to avoid the relegation zone.
However, the players’ approach and attitudes towards European qualification are different. According to soccer insiders, the big difference between Kim Ji-Soo and Yang Hyun-Joon is the “buyout” clause. A buyout clause is a contractual arrangement in which a club sets a certain amount of money when a player signs a contract, and any other club that offers more than that amount can negotiate with the player, regardless of the player’s club.
Brentford met the buyout amount ($700,000-approximately $900,000), so they were able to sign Kim Ji-soo. However, there are differences that cannot be explained by the term “buyout” alone. It’s the difference between the player and the club.
According to Sports Chosun, even without the buyout clause, Seongnam was planning to actively support Kim Ji-soo’s growth overseas. This is why the buyout amount is said to be “cheap” for European leagues. Without the buyout, Yang Hyun-joon’s transfer fee was more than three times higher than Kim Ji-su’s.
Seongnam CEO Kim Young-ha announced Kim Ji-soo’s transfer on July 27, saying, “Thanks to Kim Ji-soo, Seongnam is once again known to the world, and it is a great achievement for the club.” Seongnam Mayor Shin Sang-jin, the club’s owner, also made headlines with his so-called “owner’s special” on social media on Nov. 14, wishing Kim Ji-su all the best for the future. These are examples of Seongnam’s attitude towards Kim Ji-soo’s move to Europe.메이저놀이터
Kangwon, on the other hand, said that it “encourages players to go abroad,” but it was ambiguous whether the center of gravity was the player or the club. The stance of ‘no summer transfers for reasons such as the urgent need to escape the relegation zone’ is clearly ‘club first’. The club’s stance of ‘no summer transfers due to the relegation battle’ is clearly ‘club first’. The club’s stance of ‘no winter transfers due to the relegation battle’ is also clearly ‘player second’.
Furthermore, when the transfer was about to fall through, Kangwon switched frames, blaming the ‘media play’ of the agent who represented Yang Hyun-joon’s position, further hurting Yang’s feelings. Even if Yang Hyun-joon’s transfer is finalized, it is difficult to part with a smile. This is a big difference from Kim Ji-soo, who left with a blessing.