Ji Dong-Won and his German Suitors

Recent reports say that Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund are very interested in Sunderland AFC striker Ji Dong-Won and could be prepared to pay €5m for his services. The South Korean who went on loan to FC Augsburg in January impressed many in the Bundesliga during his 17 spell at the struggling side after not making a single first-team appearance for the Black Cats in his second year with the club.

Numerous German news outlets including Bild have reported that Borussia Dortmund’ is interested in obtaining the 22 year-old, while kicker states that VfB Stuttgart are monitoring the situation. SC Freiburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach are also said to be in the hunt to obtain the South Korean’s services.  In recent weeks local newspapers in the North East of England were reporting this interest as well, but the fee for the move has been disputed, with speculation ranging from €4m to a fee up to €7m.

Ji was playing in an unfamiliar central midfield role for Ausburg but still managed a respectable 5 goals. During the loan spell there was an agreed fee of £2m but it seems the financially-limited Augsburg club struggled to match this and the clause expired.  During his half season in Germany, Ji started every league match, being only subbed out on five occasions.  He scored two of his goals from his left foot, three from his right and created 75 offensive chances.  More importantly, he was a key contributor in Augsburg’s successful effort to avoid almost-certain relegation for a second successive season.

The Yonhap news Agency in South Korea had a source quoted as saying:

Ji plans to stay in the Bundesliga rather than return to Sunderland. His destination will be determined in early July. Given the way he performed, Ji is a better fit in the Bundesliga than in the Premier League

The striker arrived at Sunderland in June 2011 on a 3-year deal from the K-League Chunnam Dragons for a fee reported to be £2m after scoring 16 goals in 44 senior matches for the Dragons over two seasons.   While the possible fee for an upcoming Ji move has been disputed, there’s little doubt that Sunderland will reap a tidy profit if the South Korean transfers during the upcoming window.

During his time at Sunderland Ji is remembered for scoring in the last minute against Manchester City to secure the win at the Stadium of Light. However with two goals and two starts in 21 games at Wearside in 2011/2012 and none last season, he never seemed at ease in the EPL and the above quotes seem to confirm his preference.

Ji was part of the Bronze medal winning South Korean team at the London 2012 Olympics, he also scored in the tournament against Great Britain in a 1-1 draw.  Ji has earned 22 senior caps for South Korea since 2010 after serving for the Japanese U-23 and U-20 squads.

Header courtesy of Fox Sports

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Adam Brown

A 22 year old Long time Sunderland AFC sufferer, my passion for the Bundesliga was ignited at Borussia-Park as I watched Sunderland play Gladbach. I watch football every chance I get and regularly choose the Bundesliga over the Premier League. Living in Sunderland but moving to Germany soon, Follow me @MackemAB

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