“That Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) link….”, “Ah, Lee Kang-in!”
The ‘golden boy’ Lee Kang-in (22-Real Mallorca) is growing in stature by the day. El Salvador coach Hugo Perez called him “intimidating”.
Jürgen Klinsmann’s South Korea A team will face El Salvador in a friendly on Tuesday at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium.
The interest in Lee Kang-in is intense. Lee Kang-in is the future of Korean soccer, and he showed flashes of potential early in his career. From his age-group national team days, he was an ace. He led South Korea to a runner-up finish at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He also won the tournament’s MVP award, the Golden Ball.
He has also blossomed on the professional stage this season. Lee had his best season in 2022-2023. He played 2840 minutes in 36 games (33 starts) in the Spanish Primera Liga, scoring six goals and providing six assists. He became the first South Korean player to reach double-digit offensive points in a season in Spain. Notably, Lee has 90 successful dribbles this season, ranking fourth in dribbles among Europe’s top five leagues. In Spain alone, he is second only to Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid). Most importantly, Lee has a 68% dribbling success rate, ranking first in this category by 메이저놀이터 far.
He also produced a number of highlight reel moments, including scoring the game-winning goal against Getafe in Round 30 stoppage time after sprinting 70 meters. The goal was named the best goal of Round 30. Lee is also the first South Korean player to win the Best Goal award.
There was a lot of interest in Lee Kang-in. Starting with Atletico Madrid (Spain), he received ‘love calls’ from Aston Villa, Manchester United, Newcastle, Burnley, Wolverhampton, Brighton (England), AC Milan, and Napoli (Italy). Atletico Madrid, in particular, have been interested since the winter transfer window in January. However, at the time, he remained at Real Mallorca. Atletico Madrid became more active in the summer transfer window. However, reports surfaced that they were unable to agree on a price and eventually gave up.
Just as Lee’s future was in doubt, PSG emerged as his new destination. French media outlet L’Equipe reported on the 13th that “PSG have made a surprise signing after weeks of work. Lee Kang-in is set to sign a contract with PSG once he returns from his national team call-up. European transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano tweeted on Thursday that ‘PSG have reached a full verbal agreement with Lee Kang-in on a long-term contract. Lee has already completed his medical. PSG is finalizing the final details of the contractual arrangements with Real Mallorca. According to a report by L’Equipe, the base transfer fee for PSG is believed to be in the region of €20 million ($27.5 billion). This is more than the €18 million that Lee Kang-in’s buyout was said to be.
However, Lee is determined to focus on the national team for now. After the match against Peru in Busan on Nov. 16, he said, “I don’t know. All I can say is that I’m with the national team, so I have to focus on that. Right now I’m a Real Mallorca player. If I want to move, I’ll do it after the national team, either transferring or staying.”