Suwon Samsung is sending young guns raised in the youth system to Europe one after another.
The days when they were called ‘Real Suwon’ by recruiting good players from outside were a thing of the past. Now, it is transforming into ‘K-Ajax’, which raises good talent and pours them out like water.
Suwon officially announced on the 25th (Korean time) that they had agreed to send 22-year-old striker Oh Hyun-kyu to the prestigious Celtic in Scotland for a contract period of 5 years.
The transfer fee revealed by the British media ‘Sky Sports’ was 2.5 million pounds (approximately 3.9 billion won), but Suwon and domestic football officials claim that it is a large amount, so it is expected to exceed 4 billion won.
Oh Hyeon-kyu grew up in the youth system while attending Maetan Middle School and Maetang High School under Suwon.
Then, he signed a semi-professional contract ahead of the 2019 season, and the following year, he quickly resolved his military service by enlisting in the Armed Forces Sports Unit, then returned to Suwon and scored 13 goals in the 2022 season K League 1 and played a big role in the team’s remaining competition. Last year, he was selected as the 27th reserve member for the World Cup and went to Qatar.
Last year, his remarkable growth led to his third trip to Europe after receiving a love call from Celtic and coming from Suwon Youth after Kwon Chang-hoon (2017) and Jeong Sang-bin (2021).
Oh Hyun-gyu’s move to Celtic is meaningful in that the result of the youth policy pursued by Suwon is not a one-two-time affair.
Suwon, which has Samsung, a global conglomerate that Korea is proud of, as its parent company, recruited a large number of star players to the extent that it was called ‘Real Suwon’ in the past, and spurred not only championships but also multiple crowns.
After its establishment in 1996, it had superstars such as Ko Jong-soo, Lee Un-jae, Ahn Jung-hwan, Lee Kwan-woo, Kim Doo-hyeon, Song Jong-guk, and Lee Chun-soo in the squad.
Foreign players were also filled with special agents who embroidered the K-League, such as Nadson, striker of the Brazilian Olympic team, Sasha, Dennis, and Mato.
Players who are good in the K-League as well as the neighboring J-League, as well as U-turners seeking a return to Korea from Europe, gathered in Suwon.
Based on this, Suwon Samsung has lifted numerous trophies, including 4 K-League championships, 6 League Cup championships (most), and 2 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Champions League championships.
However, around 2010, Suwon created a new paradigm in line with the management rationalization policy of the parent company. Instead of stars, he steadily nurtured young talents to be active in the first team and sought a way to send them abroad.
Accordingly, Suwon began nurturing players in Maetan Middle School and Maetang High School. Oh Hyun-gyu and others made their high school students debut in the K-League through semi-pro contracts from 2019, and sent usable lumber to the adult stage a year earlier.
As a result, Suwon’s youth players’ participation rate per game increased rapidly. They were also selected for national teams at various levels, and European scouts were eyeing them in international competitions and the K-League.
Kwon Chang-hoon, who debuted in Suwon in 2013, was the first case. Kwon Chang-hoon, who went to Maetango High School in 2010 after passing through Jungdong Middle School, made his professional debut in 2013 and played an active part as Suwon’s main midfielder for two consecutive seasons, 2015 and 2016, and appeared as the first star in the Suwon Youth System as a K-League 1 Best Eleven midfielder. .
In January 2017, Kwon Chang-hoon moved to Dijon, France’s Ligue 1, after rejecting love calls from Asian clubs who brought huge sums of money from the Middle East and China, and succeeded in making his first European advance under the Suwon Youth System.
He did not simply go to Europe, but raged in the big leagues, making his name as the best midfielder in French Ligue 1 until he was ruled out of the season due to a major injury in the spring of 2018.
Last year, Jung Sang-bin, a year younger than Oh Hyun-gyu, went to Europe.
After passing through Maetan Middle-Maetang High, he made his pro debut in the 2020 season. Although he made only two appearances in the AFC Champions League in his debut season without a league appearance, the following season was different.
In 2021, Jung Sang-bin showed great performance in the first half under former coach Park Gun-ha and stood at the center of the so-called ‘Maetan Boys’ at the time. Based on his explosive speed and sharp decision-making skills, he had a successful debut season, scoring 6 goals and 2 assists in 28 league matches. 먹튀검증
Jeong Sang-bin received a love call from Premier League Wolverhampton right away at the beginning of last year, and was unable to meet the UK work visa, so he was loaned to Swiss Super League Grasshopper, owned by the owner of Wolverhampton, and is adapting to the European stage.
Following Jeong Sang-bin, Oh Hyun-kyu entered Celtic with Celtic’s persistent love call and his strong will to go to Europe, and became the third European player from Suwon Youth.
Suwon is reborn as a ‘Korean version of Ajax’ that develops player growth and club finances by taking off the tag of ‘Real Suwon’ and growing cotyledons in the academy, using them in the first team, and then selling them to the European big leagues.
The Suwon club also regrets that the active period of Jung Sang-bin and Oh Hyun-kyu is rather short, but the club’s paradigm shift has been successfully achieved over the past 10 years.
An official from Suwon said, “It is positive that U-22 resources have advanced to the European stage for two consecutive years following Chang-hoon Kwon’s first advance to Europe (Jung Sang-bin, Oh Hyun-kyu, etc.). It motivates me,” he said.
“However, I think that contributing to Suwon for 2-3 years like Kwon Chang-hoon is a virtuous cycle from the club’s point of view, but Sang-bin Jeong and Hyun-kyu Oh leave early (after one year),” he said. “But Suwon Samsung is K-League I am proud to have built an advanced youth system within the organization. It is positive that this is showing up as a result. Seeing them return to Suwon Samsung in the future and continue to bond with the club and fans will enrich the story of the K League.” .