Suwon FC manager Kim Do-kyun says that he expects Lee Seung-woo to play the full season with the K League 1 club despite constant rumors of interest from European clubs, although he thinks that the 25-year-old may have a chance to return to Europe within the next three years.
Lee joined Suwon last year after his career in Europe ground to a halt when, after years moving between clubs, he was released by Belgian club Sint-Truiden. Since returning, Lee has shown that he still has something to offer, scoring 14 goals in 35 appearances across all competitions last year.
His form last season was attractive enough to catch the attention of a number of European clubs including Scottish Premiership team Hearts of Midlothian, but Kim says he will not be heading back to Europe any time soon.
“Our club has not received an official offer for Lee from a European team,” Kim said at a press conference held at Bareve Hotel in Seogwipo, Jeju on Tuesday. “Lee also thinks that now is not the time to enter the European stage because he needs to improve multiple factors, including his stamina and defensive involvement.”
Lee, who spent most of his youth career with Barcelona, used to be touted as the “Korean Messi,” but failed to live up to the high standards set for him from such a young age.
The Korean midfielder never appeared for Barcelona and moved around a number of teams, including Hellas Verona in Serie A, before winding up at Sint-Truiden.
His failure in Europe left him no choice but to return to the K League, where he was guaranteed more playing time.
Lee spent his most successful season with Suwon last year, scoring 13 goals in the K League alone. The only other time he had previously scored more than one goal in a single season was during the 2020-21 season with Sint-Truiden, when he managed two goals먹튀검증 in 13 matches.
“If Lee complements his weaknesses and maintains his talent in attack, he will be open to an opportunity to return to Europe in 2024 or 2025,” Kim said at the press conference.
The upcoming 2023 season is crucial for Lee since his performance will most likely determine whether he gets called up for the 2023 AFC Asian cup squad. The last international tournament Lee played with the Korean national team was the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. He was excluded from the 2022 Qatar World Cup squad, instead heading to Qatar as a commentator for SBS.
The 2023 K League season kicks off on Feb. 25. Suwon FC will play their first game against Jeju United at Jeju World Cup Stadium in Seogwipo, Jeju on Feb. 26.