Image: K League 1
Monday night, we received our first legitimate report on the long-rumored young South Korean transfer target Adrian Heath has been hinting about for weeks.
That reported name is 20-year old Jeong Sang-bin, who would be signed as part of MLS’ U22 initiative.
Currently on loan from Wolverhampton to Swiss Super League powers Grasshopper Club Zurich, Sang-bin has played primarily at right wing over his career, which has been largely spent in the K-League with Suwon Bluewings, but does have experience at center-forward as well, according to TransferMarkt.
This season, the attacker hasn’t made the scoresheet in seven appearances for Grasshopper’s first team, but has scored twice in three runouts for their U21 side.
“Jeong Sang-bin’s aim at MNUFC is to earn more playing time to compete for a place in the Korea U-23 squad at the Asian Games this year and Olympics next year,” tweeted South Korean football writer Steve Han. “Despite the Asian Games being a non-FIFA tournament, Minnesota have already agreed to release Jeong if he’s selected.”
The largest sample size we have of Sang-bin’s potential impact came during his time with Bluewings in South Korea’s top division in 2021. The then 18-year old notched six goals and two assists in 29 appearances.
In addition to his club experience, Sang-bin has one cap for the South Korean U-23 national team.
“Sang-bin is a young, raw talent, who has done very well for his club and national team whilst still only a teenager,” said Wolves Technical Director Scott Sellars after the signing.
While he hasn’t exactly racked up the goals during his young career, Sang-bin brings a rare mix of youth and top-flight experience to a wing position that’s in desperate need of quality depth options, whether it be the newcomer or incumbent starter Bongokuhle Hlongwane.
“Not really an awful lot I can say until [Sang-bin is] actually signed and he’s here,” said Adrian Heath. “But, he is one of the players that we have been looking at.”