Striker Yang Hyun-joon (21), who realized his dream of reaching Europe after moving to Scottish professional soccer’s Celtic, has announced that he will aim for greater heights.
Yang departed the country on the afternoon of the 19th through Incheon International Airport.
Yang will travel to London via Istanbul and then on to Glasgow, where he has Celtic connections.
“I’m so happy and excited,” Yang told reporters before his departure, “and I’m also worried, but I’m really grateful to the Gangwon club officials for helping me go to Europe.”
“It’s a shame that I couldn’t finish the season,” he said, adding, “I think I need to do better at Celtic.”
Yang signed a contract to join Celtic with Gangwon’s president Kim Byung-ji in a live press conference on the club’s YouTube channel on Nov. 15.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but according to Kim, the transfer fee is estimated to be more than €2.5 million (approximately $3.5 billion).
“It still doesn’t feel real to be able to experience something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid,” said Yang, who will finalize his signing after completing a medical on the ground. “I think it will only feel real when I get on the plane, go through the medical, and play.”
“My favorite player was Park Ji-sung, who played for Manchester United in the English Premier League (EPL),” said Yang, who dreamed of Europe after watching Jeonbuk Hyundai Technical Director Park Ji-sung. “I loved soccer and dreamed of it since then.
Born in 2002, Yang played in the fourth division for Gangwon’s B team after graduating from Busan Information High School, but last year he was discovered by former coach Choi Yong-soo and began to play as Gangwon’s main striker.
In July of last year, he made a standout performance as a member of Team K-League during Tottenham’s visit to England, winning both the K League 1 Young Player of the Year and the Korea Football Association Young Player of the Year awards.
As he pushed for a move to Europe, Yang was at odds with Gangwon over a transfer.
Celtic made a move for Yang in May and attempted to 카지노 negotiate with Gangwon, but the club, which finished 11th out of 12 in the K League 1 this season and faced relegation, refused to allow the transfer.
Yang’s relegation seemed to be deepening as he publicly expressed his disappointment with the club, but as the controversy grew, Gangwon reconsidered the Celtic offer and allowed Yang to move on.
Celtic are also known as the club of Oh Hyun-gyu, who joined the club earlier this year after playing for Suwon Samsung. The addition of defensive midfielder Kwon Hyuk-kyu to the squad makes for a trio of Koreans.
“I’m usually in touch with (Oh) Hyun-gyu, so I’ve been in touch with him since the transfer rumors came out,” Yang said. “He told me to come over quickly because he was bored. He told me that he would take care of me,” he laughed.
As for Kwon Hyuk-gyu, he said, “I knew he was going with (Kwon) Hyuk-gyu through an article.”
Kwon, a former player of the K League 2 Busan I-Park Youth, reportedly signed a four-year contract for a transfer fee of 1 million euros (approximately 1.42 billion won).
“He told me to be careful of injuries because the Scottish league is very tough,” said Yang Hyun-joon, who received advice from Oh. “He also told me to never give up. I think I should go with a firm heart.”
In recent years, Celtic, who previously had Ki Sung-yueng (Seoul) and Cha Doo-ri (retired), have enjoyed signing players from the Japanese J-League.
This year, they have been actively pursuing Korean players, starting with Oh Hyun-gyu.
Currently, there are six Korean and Japanese players on the Celtic squad: Oh Hyun-gyu and Japanese players Maeda Daizen, Furuhashi Kogyo, Iwata Tomoki, Hatate Leo, and Kobayashi Yuki.
With the addition of Yang Hyun-joon and Kwon Hyuk-kyu, there are a total of eight East Asian players at Celtic.
“I don’t think about the Japanese players,” says Yang, “I just think about survival. We are all competitors, so we have to survive.”
Celtic, the Scottish League champions last season, will compete in the UEFA Champions League in 2023-2024.
“My goal is to play,” Yang said. The Champions League is a dream stage for players, so I will do my best to prepare for it.”
After failing to make the final roster for the Hangzhou Asian Games in September, Yang is aiming to qualify for the Paris Olympics in 2024.
If he wins a medal at the Olympics, he will receive military service benefits.
“I don’t think it’s a given that I will go to the Olympics. I think I have to go to Europe and do well to be selected, and I have to play and show what kind of player I am,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kwon Hyuk-kyu, who left the country with Yang, was not available for interviews.