Hwang Hee-chan joins Wolverhampton Wanderers
Hwang Hee-chan officially joined Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, becoming the 14th Korean footballer to join the Premier League.
Hwang joins Wolves on loan for the entirety of the 2021-22 season, with the club reportedly maintaining the option to buy Hwang for £12 million.
Hwang joined RB Leipzig last year, having an uncharacteristically quiet season with no goals scored in only 18 appearances. Hwang's season was disrupted after he contracted Covid-19 while appearing with the Korean national team in Austria in November, but he still made a name for himself as a playmaker with the German side.
Before joining Leipzig, Hwang was part of a very strong Salzburg team, scoring 16 goals and picking up 22 assists during the 2019-20 season. Wolves reportedly tried to sign Hwang at the end of that season, but the deal fell through when the club opted to sign Daniel Podence instead.
Hwang scored three Champions League goals in six appearances with Salzburg that season, including scoring a goal and picking up an assist against Liverpool on Oct. 2, 2019.
Hwang could be a considerable boost to a Wolves offense that are yet to score so far this season. He is a key part of the Korean national team, with 37 caps and six goals to his name.
Wolves have played and lost three Premier League games so far this season, all 1-0, against Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. The fact that all three games were lost by such a small margin suggests that Wolverhampton's defense is relatively sound, but it is unable to convert in attack. That could be a huge opportunity for Hwang to quickly carve out a role at the front of the lineup.
Currently, Son Heung-min of Tottenham is the only Korean player active in the Premier League. With two days left in the summer transfer window it is unlikely, but not impossible, that any other Korean players will join Son and Hwang in England.
Center back Kim Min-jae was linked to a number of clubs, but has now moved to Fenerbahce in Turkey. Bordeaux's Hwang Ui-jo and Valencia's Lee Kang-in have also seen interest from Premier League clubs, but with Lee set to move to Mallorca and Bordeaux keen to keep hold of last season's top scorer, it seems unlikely either will move this year.
Hwang's start with Wolves will be delayed as he rejoins the Korean team this week for a pair of qualifying games for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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