[STNSPORTS=Christina Seorin Lee EDITOR]
Red Bull Salzburg forward Hwang Hee Chan’s transfer is one of the most interesting subjects in South Korean soccer at this point. Unlike his plays back in Hamburger SV, he is performing in the best condition this season. Not only the league, but he has also impressed UEFA Champions League.
Takumi Minamino and Erling Braut Haaland, players who were assigned to attacking position with Hwang Hee Chan during UCL, have transferred to Liverpool FC and Borussia Dortmund. This opened up the possibility of Hwang Hee Chan’s transfer. He has been linked to several other clubs, but transferring to Wolverhampton Wanderers is catching most of the attention.
Hwang Hee Chan’s transfer first arose last December. A national British daily broadsheet newspaper <Telegraph> announced “Wolverhampton Wanderers are ready to move for the South Korea international next year after identifying him as one of their prime targets to strengthen Nuno’s squad.”
This report was considered trustworthy because John Percy, journalist of this article, is well known as an expert of the soccer clubs in Wolverhampton and West Midlands.
However, on December 31, Christoph Freund, sporting director of FC Red Bull Salzburg adverted to the plan of keeping Hwang Hee Chan until the latter half of the season.
Salzburg’s decision is fully understandable because they have a lack attacker position after losing Minamino and Haaland. Even though Salzburg mainly focus on the role of ‘selling club’ by improving players’ abilities, they should also manage their scores.
Salzburg is likely to lose its pace if Hwang Hee Chan leaves as well. If the winning points difference with the second place gets bigger, their poor result will eventually lead to a failure of advance to the UEFA Champions League. As they have already gained sufficient money in return for two players, they are not willing to take any more risks.
No announcements about buyout clauses that enabled transfers of Minamino and Haaland let Salzburg hold its priority.
Freund’s words have possibly affected the local media reports. Only occasional reports were made through the Internet media, but there was just a few from the papers. The local news <Birmingham Mail> also fills the articles about the clubs’ game results. It is same for every other sources other than the media.
However, Hwang Hee Chan's chances of transfer have not been completely extinguished under some remaining circumstances. In terms of Wolverhampton, Italian striker Patrick Cutrone who joined AC Milan, has very limited opportunities and wants to leave the team. His decision weighs heavily on the difficulties of adapting to the United Kingdom.
Wolverhampton is currently playing for both league and UEFA Europa League. Although Wolves’ manager Nuno Espírito Santo adheres to starting lineup to the extent of not using his replacement card for twice in this EPL season, there is a high risk of playing the tournaments with such limited squad. The need for reinforcement has certainly increased.
Salzburg is also a little more open to Hwang Hee Chan's transfer than before. Due to the absence of two attackers, they brought back Mergim Berisha, who had been on loan to SCR Altach, and brought Anderson Niangbo from FC Liefering. Salzburg club posted this news on its official website. They have finally the reinforced the attacking positions.
It is yet uncertain whether the two players would gradually replace the positions of Minamino and Holland, but Salzburg made a new option for themself. Obviously, what could possibly shake Salzburg is “huge sum of money."
The situation is simpler than before. Salzburg still holds the priority for transfer. If Wolverhampton or other clubs cannot provide the desirable amount of money, Hwang Hee Chan is expected to stay in Salzburg and improve himself.