Lee Kang-in (22-Paris Saint-Germain) has been selected to compete in the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games. Lee will soon be traveling to the “battleground” country to join the national team.
Loic Tanji of France’s L’Equipe reported on Friday (July 15), “PSG has approved Lee Kang-in’s participation in the Asian Games. Striker Lee Kang-in has been cleared by the club to play in the Asian Games in China (Sept. 19-Oct. 8). Lee has been at the center of controversy in his native South Korea for several days, but he will finally be able to compete at the Asian Games. He received permission from the club on Thursday of this week,” the report said.
“Lee, who has been nursing a thigh injury for several weeks after arriving from Mallorca in a €22 million transfer this summer, is expected to fly to China in the next few hours for the tournament. The Asian Games are not part of the official Fifa calendar, so there was no reason to send him. The decision was made after talks between the player, his agent and the club. “The player’s representative said, ‘We are grateful to the club for handling the situation in this way and helping the player. Everyone is happy,” he added.
The French publication Le Parisien reported, “PSG has allowed Lee Kang-in to compete in the Asian Games. After recovering from a left thigh injury, Lee will return to his homeland to participate in the Asian Games.”
“Lee, who signed for €22 million from Mallorca this summer, hasn’t played many official PSG matches. Injured in his first trial against Le Havre in July, he picked up another injury in the Ligue 1 match against Toulouse and missed the games against Reims and Lyon. This time, he was once again ruled out for reasons unrelated to his health. PSG has reached an agreement with South Korea to allow Lee to participate in the Asian Games from September 23 to October 9,” the club said.
“(The tournament) will cause him to miss two important dates: the second leg of the Champions League against Newcastle United and the league match against Marseille. PSG will be without a new striker (in addition to Lee) as Marco Asensio is out for a month with an injury. Luckily, they can rely on the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Ousmane Dembele, Kylian Mbappe, and Randal Kolo Moani,” he wrote.
European transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano also drove a wedge. “PSG decided today to approve Lee Kang-In’s participation in the Asian Games. The club will send him to the 2023 Asian Games.”
The Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games squad, led by Hwang Sun-hong, held its final training session at the Paju National Football Center (NFC) on Thursday before departing for Hangzhou. The team will depart for Hangzhou on the 16th via Incheon International Airport. The Asian Games are usually held for Under-23 (U-23) athletes, but the age group was increased by one year after the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games were postponed by one year due to COVID-19.
The Korean national team will be chasing gold for the “third time in a row. South Korea previously won gold at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. Hwang is in Group E and will face Kuwait on Sept. 19, followed by Thailand on Sept. 21 and Bahrain on Sept. 24.
[Tug of war over when Lee Kang-in will join the team].
The topic of conversation was the timing of Lee Kang-in’s arrival. The loan agreement was reset when Lee joined PSG in the summer transfer window. Hwang Sun-hong had originally arranged the transfer with Mallorca, but the move left him with the task of resetting it.
First, at the press conference announcing the final roster in July, Hwang said, “We are still in communication with PSG. Lee Kang-in has a very strong desire to participate in the Asian Games. The transfer had been finalized with Mallorca. But the transfer to PSG happened very quickly, so we have to coordinate. “We have to coordinate because (Lee) is very determined and we are still working together. We are very positive and looking forward to it.”
“The A-Match period is a mandatory withdrawal, so it’s not a big deal. “But there are six days before that where you have to sit out. If your team doesn’t give you permission, you have to go back. We’re in constant communication about that. The cooperation during the tournament is mostly done. It’s just those six days, and we’re trying to figure it out. The rest of the players are fine. Lee Kang-in is still uncertain. We have to wait a little longer because he just joined the team.”
With the tournament just around the corner, there hasn’t been much progress. First, a Korean Football Association (KFA) official said on Nov. 13, “The decision on whether to send Lee Kang-in will be made tomorrow (Nov. 14) in Paju, where coach Hwang Sun-hong will mention any updates in the meantime. The PSG side said they would let us know on the 13th, but we haven’t heard anything from the association yet.”
On the 14th, Hwang didn’t say much either. “I’m frustrated too. I am personally communicating with Lee Kang-in. He wants to join us as soon as possible. But the timing with PSG is not coordinated. The federation is in close communication with PSG. We hope that a decision will be made soon so that he can focus on the team.”
“We still haven’t received an official answer as to when he will join the team. I’m frustrated about that. They said they’ll get back to me on the 13th to see if he’s fully recovered, but there’s still no official answer.”
The disappointment continued. “I was hoping that he would come in before the first game or two of the group stage, but I don’t think that’s possible. I think PSG is putting a lot of conditions. They’ve made things like the Asian Cup qualifiers in January, so I hope we can agree on that and I can join as soon as possible. It seems like PSG is trying to push a lot of things to their advantage. It’s going to take a lot of coordination. There’s nothing I can do about it, even if Mr. Klinsmann comes. We have to leave immediately. We need to discuss it within the association,” he sighed.
[Lee Kang-in’s departure confirmed, when will he join?]
French publications L’Equipe, Le Parisien, and Romano confirmed that Lee Kang-in will participate in the Asian Games. They also confirmed when he will join the team.
Loic Tanji of the highly respected L’Equipe predicted that Lee would leave within a few hours. At the latest, he is expected to fly out after the Ligue 1 match against OGC Nice at 4 a.m. on the 16th.
Lee could then be available for the first game of the group stage against Kuwait. Of course, the fact that he’s only just recovered from injury, his physical condition, and his chemistry with his teammates could delay that. But it’s definitely a positive that he’ll be available from the group stage.
It’s also what Hwang had hoped for. “It would be nice to play one or two games in the qualifiers and then go to the round of 16, but if I join the team after that, there could be a lot of different situations. I need to be part of the team to be able to make plans. I said, “I’m frustrated about that,” but with Lee Kang-in joining the team quickly, I was able to play one or two games.
[On Lee being sidelined by injury].
Lee signed for PSG in July. It was quite a tug-of-war, and in the end, it was agreed. “Mallorca and PSG have reached a complete agreement on the transfer of Lee,” said Juanmi Sanchez of Spain’s Marca. He will play for PSG,” reported Juanmi Sanchez. “Mallorca will receive over €17 million in compensation for the transfer of Lee, who joined the club as a free agent in 2021. The total transfer fee is €22 million, of which 20% (€4.4 million and KRW 6 billion) is Lee’s.”
“This completes the interest and negotiations that have been ongoing since June 12. The negotiations took longer than necessary, but we finally reached an agreement. We expect it to be formalized with a signature in the next few hours.”
PSG then announced on their website that “Lee Kang-in has signed for PSG. We are pleased to announce that he has signed a contract until June 2028. He becomes the first Korean player to sign for PSG.” He will wear the number 19 shirt he wore in Mallorca.
In a club interview, Lee said, “My position on the pitch is diverse. I am a midfielder who can play on both wings. I am a technical player who is comfortable on the ball. I also have a lot of desire and thirst to win. I’m here to help win and everything about the team,” he said.
He added: “I always want to help the team, I want to help the team win every game and win as many titles as possible. I’m happy to join PSG. PSG is one of the biggest clubs in the world and has some of the best players in the world. I can’t wait to start this new adventure. I’m looking forward to meeting the fans and bringing joy on the pitch.”
It hasn’t been an easy start. In the 43rd minute of the first leg against Le Havre in July, Lee touched his right thigh and communicated with the bench. He was soon off the field and the game was over. Earlier in the game, Lee had been sprinting, and he touched his right thigh and complained of discomfort.
He was subsequently added to the Asian Tour roster, but did not appear until the final match against Jeonbuk Hyundai. In a pre-match interview, Lee said, “I’ve recovered a lot and my body is fine. Of course, I can’t play 90 minutes. I didn’t do much team training. But my body is fine. However, it’s not up to me to decide whether or not to play, so if I do, I’ll do my best.” He took the field in the 24th minute of the second half and played a light role as a foursome.
The official schedule then began, and Lee made a promising start against Lorient and Toulouse. The joy was short-lived, however, as Lee suffered a left quadriceps injury in August and spent some time recovering. As a result, Lee missed the third and fourth rounds of the Ligue 1, Reims and Lyon, and was also left out of Klinsmann’s Korea A squad for the September A match. 스포츠토토
After a long rehabilitation, he is set to return. On September 13, PSG shared a video of the squad training on their official social media accounts. Lee Kang-in was included in the video to prepare for the upcoming match. After his injury, Lee focused on individual training and rehabilitation for a while. It was a positive thing that he was able to train with his teammates for the first time.
We don’t know how fit he will be when he joins the national team. We need to be careful and use it to our advantage.