Jeong Woo-yeong linked to Bayern Munich, again
SC Freiburg forward Jeong Woo-yeong's on-again, off-again relationship with Bayern Munich looks like it could take another turn, with German media reporting that the Bundesliga's most successful club has taken an interest in its Korean alumni again.
The German edition of Sky Sports reported Monday that despite having sold Jeong to Freiburg three years ago, Munich maintains a 10-million-euro ($11.3-million) buyback clause that lasts until at least this summer. According to reports, Munich are showing growing interest in triggering the clause.
Jeong's European career started in 2017, when he was signed by Bayern Munich from the K League's Incheon United. He appeared predominantly for the youth and reserve teams, making a single appearance for the German club in a UEFA Champions League game in November 2018.
At the start of 2019, Freiburg announced that they had signed Jeong to a four-year deal. Jeong made just one appearance for his new club, before being loaned straight back to Bayern Munich, where he slotted right back into the reserve team.
It wasn't until the last two seasons that Jeong, now back at Freiburg again, started to become a regular first team fixture. In 13 league appearances this year, Jeong has already scored three goals, putting him on track to significantly outpace last season's four goals in 26 Bundesliga appearances.
If the rumors are true, that boost in form has caught the eye of Bayern Munich again. According to Sky Sports, the club are keeping the option open, while Jeong is also drawing attention from Bundesliga rival TSG Hoffenheim a number of "unnamed Premier League clubs."
At 22-years-old, Jeong is yet to earn a military exemption, which was also noted in the Sky Sports story. Whether this could impact his chance of a high-profile transfer is unclear, as the young footballer still has a number of chances to earn one.
The 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, taking place in September, could offer an opportunity, as a gold medal at the Asiad is an automatic exemption. Korea have taken gold at the last two tournaments.
Jeong isn't the only Korean star in Europe to be linked to transfer rumors this month. Wolverhampton Wanderers' forward Hwang Hee-chan could be offered a more permanent move to the Premier League club, although after his recent hamstring injury, the club might choose to wait until the summer. Kim Min-jae of Fenerbahce was also reportedly the subject of a bid from Napoli, with the Turkish club said to have rejected the offer.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]