Attention is already focusing on the showdown between K-League coach and player Jesse Lingard (32). The coach is also set to respond to his unique flute ceremony.
The Korea Professional Football Federation held the 2024 K-League winter training media camp at the Parev Hotel in Seogwipo, Jeju Island on the 5th. With players from Gwangju FC and Pohang Steelers participating, the biggest topic of the media day was Lingard’s transfer to FC Seoul.
Lingard, who was rumored to be heading to Seoul, seems imminent. Lingard, who played in the English Premier League (EPL) stages including Manchester United and West Ham United, entered Korea through Incheon International Airport on Tuesday. Rumors have it that he displayed enthusiastic response, with hundreds of fans gathering. Players and coaches who will face off against Lingard also expressed high expectations.
Notably, Pohang striker Hong Yoon-sang (22), who has a reputation for his cheerful personality and strong side attack, has already declared an extraordinary war against Lingard. When I met with reporters, Hong said, “I think it would be too much of a provocation,” but added, “I want to perform a flute ceremony against Lingard. It would be fun to play against a world-class player. I’m excited to meet him in the K-League.”
Hong Yoon-sang joined Hwang Sun-hong for off-season training in Turkiye. “I heard about Lingard’s trip to Seoul through an article,” Hong said after attending the U-23 national team. He talked a lot about Lingard’s trip to Seoul with the Seoul players who went to the off-season training together. Everyone is already excited. I was excited to follow him on social media. I expect that a lot of attention will be paid to the K-League.”
Seoul, which is highly likely to join Lingard, will play the first game of the 2024 K-League 1 against Gwangju at 2 p.m. on March 2 at Gwangju Football Stadium. Lee Jung-hyo, 49, manager of Gwangju, said about Lingard’s trip to Seoul, “I was wondering if we should change our home game for the sake of the success of the league. There are many fans who will come to the stadium. Gwangju Football Stadium is small. I also hoped that the schedule would come out a little later for the K-League.” In fact, the Gwangju Football Stadium can accommodate about 10,000 spectators. Seoul’s home stadium, the Seoul World Cup Stadium, is a large stadium with more than 66,000 seats. In other words, the chief of staff even mentioned the change of the stadium for the sake of the success of the opening game.
Jung Ho-yeon (24), a midfielder in Gwangju who emerged as one of Korea’s top prospects after receiving the Young Player of the K-League award last year, also looked surprised. When asked about his transfer to Lingard, he replied, “He’s really coming,” and said, “I’ve only seen him through video clips. I don’t think I can exchange uniforms because many K-League players don’t come out. I’d appreciate it if he could.”
However, when asked about his determination for the ceremony when he faced Lingard, he said with a shy smile, “I don’t think I can do the ceremony. It’s hard to get attention.”
Lingard has extensive experience in European big leagues and the English national team. However, Lingard remained invincible after his contract with Manchester United ended in July last year. “Wouldn’t it be better to play in the first game? It would be great if it is for the success of the K-League,” Jeong Ho-yeon said. “However, there are many good players in Seoul as well. I don’t think the club will wait long for Lingard to recover his condition.”
Jung Ho-yeon also had a puzzled reaction to Lingard’s move to the K-League. “Everyone said ‘No way’ or ‘Really’. I was also curious about how the club would meet its annual salary.”
Even overseas, Lingard’s trip to Korea is a hot potato. When Lingard arrived at Incheon International Airport, foreign media also reported his move in real-time. It even covered a scene where a fan handed Lingard the Danso. Lingard’s transfer to the K-League is considered one of the top issues in the soccer world not only in Korea but also in the UK.
It has been so since the early days of Lingard’s transfer rumors. Sky Sports, one of the leading British media, is shocking on the 2nd. The former Manchester United winger is heading to Seoul, Korea. Lingard is on the verge of joining Seoul, he said. “The initial two-year contract with Lingard includes an option of one-year extension. The verbal agreement has already been completed. Lingard left Nottingham Forest last summer and remained as a free agent, and fired his agent earlier this month,” he reported in detail.
Lingard even rejected offers from multiple European clubs and chose to go to Seoul. “It’s an interesting situation,” Sky Sports said in response to Lingard’s move. Since becoming a free agent, Lingard has heard offers from several clubs. Saudi Arabia’s professional league, the Turkiyen team, and the Italian Serie A team approached him. “However, Lingard wanted to move to Korea for the first time in his career.”
He seems to have a strong sense of challenge. “Lyngaard has played in England since joining the Manchester United. Now he wants to challenge himself in a new country. He was frustrated as he failed to sign various contracts after leaving Nottingham. Negotiations with SPL’s R.T. Park also collapsed in October last year,” he said.
Expectations for Lingard, who once showed promise in the Premier League, were huge. He could have challenged himself to the big league. “Spanish sources say that Lingard has also considered transferring to Everton in the Premier League and FC Barcelona in Spain,” the British newspaper Mirror said, citing multiple Spanish media. “However, Lingard is now in the final stages of his K-League 1 move to Seoul.”
The BBC, a major British media outlet, also made headlines about Lingard’s trip to Seoul. “According to an official familiar with his transfer to the K-League, Lingard will enter Korea next Monday for a medical test with Seoul. He will then leave for Kagoshima, Japan and join the Seoul squad,” the media reported in detail. “Lingard’s trip to Seoul will be completed soon. Lingard has been without his team since leaving Nottingham. Seoul of the K-League has offered Lingard a two-year contract and considerable annual salary.” As BBC reported, Lingard arrived in Korea on Tuesday.
What was surprising was that Lingard was recognized as a talent in England when he was a promising player. He also had No. 10 members of the English national team and played a total of 32 matches. After joining the Manchester United at a young age, Lingard played as a youth and became a professional player in the first team. He even took part in the UEFA Europa League, the FA Cup, and the Carabao Cup.
Since his contract with Manchester United ended in July last year, Lingard has constantly expressed his willingness to return to the professional team. He also shared his updates through his personal SNS. “Mirrors” highlighted that Lingard shared a video of his workout on his SNS. Manchester United legend Paul Scholes even criticized this. “I am currently spending my time growing up. People may not understand me. Eventually, the day will come to admit it,” Lingard said last month.
In the 2020-2021 season, Lingard played in his prime for West Ham in the Premier League. Lingard, who had no room at Manchester United, moved to West Ham on loan and became the ace of his team. As a side striker, he scored nine goals in 16 Premier League matches. He showed outstanding goal-getting ability, active activity, and even sensual movements.
Manchester United confirmed Lingard’s performance and invited him to join the original team. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, then manager, promised time for Lingard to play. However, Manchester United did not keep its promise with Lingard. Lingard was often replaced as manager. The same was true under interim coach Ralf Rangnick, 64. Rather, promising player Antony Elanga (currently Nottingham) was ahead in the race for starting players. Lingard played less than 23 minutes on average in 16 Premier League games in the 2021-2022 season 마카오토토.
The end wasn’t as good as it turned out. At the time, Edinson Cavani (36) and Juan Mata (36) were about to expire and they were substituted for Manchester United in their last home game. Lingard was on the bench but failed to get on the ground in the end. He wasn’t even given a chance to say goodbye to Manchester United’s home fans.
Lingard completed his 23-year companionship with Manchester United. After leaving the club as a free agent, Lingard knocked on the door to return to active duty. He participated in SPL’s off-season training at RT Park and got a checkup in front of coach Steven Gerrard. At that time, there was no room for Lingard at RT Park, which filled the quota for foreigners. Lingard displayed rusty skills by scoring goals in practice matches.
It was his second attempt as a trainee. Lingard wanted to sign an official contract by playing in an exhibition game at West Ham after his contract at Nottingham expired. However, manager David Moyes gave up on Lingard. According to Mirror, Moyes judged that Lingard’s physical strength was not comparable to that of the Premier League.
Lingard, who had dominated the European and Saudi leagues, is taking on a new challenge after about seven months of his invincible life. Korea’s journey to Seoul, which even the U.K. did not predict, is nearing its end. It is expected that he will join the off-season training camp in Seoul before the opening of the K-League. Among the players who recently entered the K-League, the value of his name is the highest ever. This is why K-League leaders, players, and soccer fans at home and abroad are drawing keen attention.