LAFC’s season ended not too long ago, but obviously the transfer rumor hot stove is nearly always active and there’s an intriguing new rumor out of South Korea.
Multiple reports broke Wednesday that LAFC are set to sign defender Kim Moon-hwan ahead of the 2021 season. Angels on Parade was also tipped off about this deal prior to the reports breaking in English.
Kim Moon-hwan is set to join LAFC, pending medical in the next week or two. I told you it was a curveball https://t.co/z0eWWumEmw— Steve Han • 한만성 (@realstevescores) December 28, 2020
Kim, 25, has played his entire pro career to date in his native South Korea, for Busan IPark. A standout in the second division, he helped them win promotion to the top flight for 2020 and was once again a top player, and after Busan IPark were relegated, demand for his services elsewhere was reportedly considerable.
The right back, who has also played at times in midfield, is a two-way player who also has 11 caps for the Korean national team, and won the Asian Games in 2018 with the South Korean U-23s, which — crucially — meant that his mandatory military service that is expected of all men in the country is considered complete.
There haven’t been many MLS players from South Korea over the past 25 years, but there have been a handful. Legendary defender Hong Myung-bo played two seasons with the LA Galaxy in 2003-04, and then there was a big lag until Y.P. Lee played two seasons for the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2012-13. More recently, Kim Kee-hee played for the Seattle Sounders from 2018-19, and the Whitecaps had a second Korean, Inbeom Hwang, for 2019 and part of this past season.
While rumors that don’t follow well-trod paths can and should often be taken with skepticism, I think this one is pretty legit for a few reasons. First of all, the English-language Korean soccer press are running with it, and they don’t have any kind of reputation for inventing transfer rumors. Second, LAFC could certainly use a starting right back after their revolving door in 2020 and their insistence on moving Tristan Blackmon to center back in the long run. And then LAFC GM John Thorrington may have some unexpected connections, having played with Y.P. Lee in Vancouver and Korean outlets reporting Thorrington asked Lee — a former fullback himself — for input on bringing Kim stateside.
So for now, this is not a done deal, but I have a feeling it could be announced at some point in January. We’ll keep you posted on developments as we learn them.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.