Hwang Hee-chan may have to wait for summer transfer window

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Hwang Hee-chan may have to wait for summer transfer window

Hwang Hee-chan [REUTERS/YONHAP]

Hwang Hee-chan [REUTERS/YONHAP]

 
Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Hwang Hee-chan may have to wait a little longer before the club offers him a permanent contract, with British football pundits predicting that Wolves are likely to hold off until the summer transfer window before signing the Korean forward.
 
Hwang is currently playing for Wolves on a season-long loan from RB Leipzig. The club maintain the option to buy his contract, and have made it clear that such a deal could be on the table. But while Wolves had been expected to potentially consider making the move permanent during the current January transfer window, it now looks like that may not happen before the summer.
 
Hwang was sidelined after suffering an injury on Dec. 15 in the early stages of a Premier League clash with Brighton. He left the pitch in the 12th minute of the game after a collision with Brighton full-back Tariq Lamptey. Brighton were awarded a free kick, and Hwang attempted to continue playing but left the pitch moments later, grabbing his thigh.
 
It appeared from replays of the incident that Hwang's toe may have got stuck in the ground, causing a brief hyperextension, likely leading to a hamstring injury.
 
It wasn't until two weeks later that Wolves gave an update on Hwang's status, announcing that he had sustained a hamstring injury and would be out of action until February.
 
While that injury doesn't seem to have changed the club's opinion — manager Bruno Lage told reporters last week that nothing has changed — the long absence could well have persuaded Wolves, and any other teams interested in Hwang, that it is better to wait for him to return to the pitch before making anything permanent.
 
If that is the case, it won't have any immediate impact on Hwang. The Korean striker maintains his position on loan to the Premier League club for the rest of the season and, if he is able to continue to impress, a deal could be on the table in the summer.
 
Hwang, who is known as The Bull for his relentlessly aggressive style of play, has quickly become a fan favorite, with pundits also heaping praise on the forward each week. The fact that Hwang has a very different approach to countryman Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur — relying on strength and persistence rather than speed and agility — has only added to the interest.
 
The Premier League transfer window will close at midnight on Jan. 31.
 
As well as missing out on a score of Wolves games, Hwang's injury will likely take him out of Korea's next two World Cup qualifiers, against Lebanon on Jan. 27 and Syria on Feb. 1.

BY JIM BULLEY [jim.bulley@joongang.co.kr]
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