Friday, May 7, 2010

Park Transfer Rumors Abound

Park Ji-sung is the biggest thing in Korean sports--yes, even bigger than Yun-a. So it is only to be expected that the slightest ripple of a rumor involving him becomes a giant wave crashing on the shores of the Korean newspapers and blogosphere.

And so it to be taken with a grain of salt that the Manchester United midfielder is being traded to Bayern Munich, or even that, as the Korea Herald reports, Bayern "is ready to offer the British club 7 million pounds ($10.5 million)" for his tranfer. Still Man U is in a bit of a monetary pinch, having spent big for some big-name players in the last several years. They paid 4 million pounds (then USD 8 million) to transfer him from PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands in 2005.

But Park has received increased playing time of late, is only twenty-nine, and is thought to be one of manager Sir Alex Ferguson's favorites. I agree with the Times' closing sentence on the subject: "Park is not likely to choose to move by himself. Contracted to United until 2012, Park said earlier this week that he wants to retire in a Manchester United jersey."

Meanwhile, Soccerway reports that Park Chu-young is headed back to South korea for treatment after an injury received in his club AS Monaco's extra-time loss to PSG in last week's French Cup final. This in preparation for Korea's World Cup bid.

Two more stories of soccer interest in the Times: first, a report about the national teams preparations for South Africa--the final roster will be announced May 31, only 10 days before the world's most popular sporting event kicks off; and second, a story about FC Seoul's success in building it's fan base and putting rear ends on the seats in the stadium. I have mentioned the increased attendance I've noticed at games this season, and the story corroborates it:
Almost all of the professional sports outfits in Korea, including FC Seoul, fail to make a profit. FC Seoul's gate receipts totaled some 1.9 billion won ($1.7 million) last season, way below the 6 billion won taken by the Lotte Giants in the KBO league.
Still, prospects are bright for FC Seoul's sustained popularity. It aims to attract 30,000 spectators to each home game this season, from 15,919 last year, and it looks achievable so far, the club says.

Here is what Sangam looks like from the north end with 61,000 people inside:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Being a devout follower of Manchester United, I agree that this is also an unlikely transfer.

Park is indeed one of Fergie's favourites, and he has been demonstrating his importance to the team in recent months with goals in crucial games (Arsenal, Milan, Liverpool...).

I, for one, hope this is nothing more than the Korean media picking up on the slightest whisper about their favourite son and making a mountain out of a mole-hill...