Lee heading for Premier League at TottenhamLee Young-pyo of PSV Eindhoven has finally got his wish to play in the English Premier League. Lee accepted an offer from Tottenham Hotspur, making him the second Korean player to go into the Premier League, following Park Ji-sung, who left the same Dutch team for Manchester United.
Lee, 29, is reportedly going to sign a four-year contract and receive a signing bonus of 3.8 billion won ($3.7 million). Although Lee's annual salary was not disclosed, his agency said he would be in the top five earners at the club. With the transfer, Lee will compete against his former teammate, Park, in the league.
Tottenham Hotspur was founded 123 years ago, and won the then-First Division in 1951 and 1961. The team won the eight-nation Peace Cup in Korea in July.
Lee is known as an ordinary but diligent player ― though his speed and passing are unimpressive, his tenacious defending and artful dribbling made him a regular in PSV’s lineup despite his small physique. Lee stands 1.76 meters (5.77 feet) high and weighs 65 kilograms (143 pounds).
When attending Anyang Middle and Technical High schools, Lee hurt his ankle and failed to learn even the basics of shooting. After years of practice, however, Lee perfected his dribbling and other tactics, enabling him to outwit and beat defenders using skill rather than speed or weight.
Another of Lee's strengths is his stamina. In games, he moves up and down the touchline with a seemingly unlimited supply of energy.
In 1999, Lee joined the national soccer team, led by Huh Jung-moo, before the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, and always ran head-to-head with Park during long-distance running exercises.
Lee also knows how to lead the game, so much so that in the game against Portugal during the 2002 World Cup, he was repeatedly fouled by Joao Pinto, leading to the Portuguese defender getting a red card, meaning he was removed from the game.
Lee married last year and now has a four-month-old daughter. A religious man, he is said to be dedicated to his family, soccer and religion. His diligence led to the Premier League, and although Lee is not as famous as Park, he is on his way to success as a solid defender. Lee had his last game as a player with PSV on Sunday night, and is going to sign the contract today (Korean time).
by Jeong Young-jae