Hwang Ui-jo still waiting on a transfer out of Ligue 2

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Hwang Ui-jo still waiting on a transfer out of Ligue 2

Hwang Ui-jo  [AFP/YONHAP]

Hwang Ui-jo [AFP/YONHAP]

Bordeaux striker Hwang Ui-jo may be essentially guaranteed a transfer this summer, but where and when still remains unclear and the clock is ticking with the French Ligue 2 season already underway.
Hwang, Bordeaux's top scorer last season when they played in the top tier and weren't in financial administration, is thought to be at the top of Bordeaux's must-sell list as the cash-strapped French club looks to quickly raise funds to meet restructuring targets.
Bordeaux were relegated to Ligue 2 this season after finishing in the relegation zone in Ligue 1 at the end of last season, and then faced further relegation to the third-tier Championnat National due to financial difficulties. The club successfully appealed that decision, but only because creditors accepted a restructuring plan that included the sale of assets — likely including Hwang.
Yet as desperate as Bordeaux are for funds, Hwang's long-awaited transfer remains surprisingly elusive. The two teams suspected to be the frontrunners in a prospective Hwang sale are French Ligue 1 club Nantes and Premier League side West Ham.
Nantes are likely the favorite when it comes to a Hwang deal, and the French team have been linked to the Korean striker for months. A West Ham deal seems a little more unlikely, although Hwang himself mentioned the club last month, implying that talks were underway.
If Hwang does end up back in Ligue 1 he will be the only Korean in the French top tier, after Suk Hyun-jun parted ways with Troyes last week. 
If he ends up in West Ham, he will be the third Korean active in the Premier League, alongside Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Hwang Hee-chan. That would certainly create some interesting fixtures for Korean football fans, with all three of the Korean national team's top strikers active in the Premier League.
Hwang has long been a transfer rumor favorite and is often suggested as an easy way for Bordeaux to make some much needed money.  
In the summer of 2021, Hwang, who had been Bordeaux's top scorer in the 2020-21 season with 12 goals, was linked to clubs across Europe, with a last-minute deal with either an unnamed wealthy Russian club or Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon apparently falling through in the dying hours of the transfer window.
In January, Hwang was again expected to make a move, although a flurry of goals — including a hat trick against Strasbourg on January 23 — effectively closed that window.
With a Hwang deal now practically guaranteed, it is now just a case of Bordeaux accepting the right offer. The market is already heating up — U.S. club Minnesota United reportedly put in an offer of 5 million euros ($5 million), but were immediately rejected.  

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