January 30, 2019 10:27
Kim Min-jae of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors will leave the K-League champion team to play for Beijing Sinobo Guoan in the Chinese Super League. Kim is considered the anchor of the national team's back line who can command Korea's defense for the next 10 years.
Jeonbuk announced Kim's move on Tuesday and said it respected his decision to leave. The Chinese team's coach, Roger Schmidt, had pursued Kim, who, at 190 cm and 88 kg, has a build that allows him to defend against any striker in Europe and boasts speed and technical prowess.
Kim performed well in the recent Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup in the UAE, where Korea exited after the quarterfinals, and even scored two goals despite being a defender.
Though the terms were not disclosed, one source said the move is worth at least US$6 million and that Kim's annual salary will be $3 million. Kim will wear the No. 2 jersey for his new team.
"This has been the biggest and toughest decision I've had since I started playing," Kim said. "I know that many are wary of my move to China but I'll continue to put in the effort to become a better player."
Jeonbuk said that while Kim was playing in the Asian Cup the English Premier League club Watford expressed an interest in acquiring the defender, but by that time he had already signed with Beijing.
"We decided to delay the transfer announcement until after the Asian Cup in consideration of both the player and the national team," it said.
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