July 16, 2020 10:55
Footballer Ki Sung-yueng has begun a fresh effort to negotiate a contract with FC Seoul after his initial bid to return to the club failed earlier this year.
A club official confirmed on Wednesday, "We began [new] talks with Ki recently."
After leaving Newcastle United in the English Premier League, Ki spoke with FC Seoul and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in February in his initial effort to return to the K-League, but was unable to strike a deal with either club.
He then signed a four-month deal with RCD Mallorca in Spain's La Liga that was to be valid until June 30. However, his Spanish debut was immediately followed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and La Liga was suspended on March 12. It resumed on June 11, just three weeks before the expiration of Ki's contract. Ki gave up on the prospect of renewing it and returned to Korea on June 25.
When Ki left for Celtic FC in the Scottish Premiership in 2009, his transfer contract included a provision requiring Ki to rejoin the Seoul club upon his return home, or pay it a penalty of W2.6 billion (US$1=W1,202). This is why Ki's talks with Jeonbuk fell through in the first place.
For Seoul, which desperately needs more depth, Ki would be an ideal player to strengthen the squad and revitalize the mood at the club.
The stumbling block is his salary. FC Seoul director Kang Myung-won said, "We offered the maximum we can give under the current financial situation." But it is apparently not high enough for Ki to accept. Ki is not in an ideal situation, either, as it is now harder to find an overseas club due to the pandemic.
Ki's agent said, "We are open to all possibilities."
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