Large center back Kim Ji-soo (19-Seongnam FC) is going to the English Premier League (EPL). He has been granted a work permit.
Kim received an official offer from EPL club Brentford last month. Brentford reportedly offered a buyout ($700,000) and a sell-on clause to sign Kim Ji-su. The Seongnam club also said, “It is true that an offer has been made to Kim Ji-soo. If they offer more than the buyout amount, we will have to let him go.”
The variable was work permits. Kim has no experience with the A team. The general consensus was that it might not be easy to get a work permit. In some circles, there was talk that Kim could be sent on loan to the Danish league or the Portuguese second division due to work permit issues.
The tide has turned. On the 9th of this month, multiple sources familiar with the K League said, “Kim Ji-soo seems to have resolved the work permit issue. It is in the final stages of issuance.” On the 13th, Seongnam CEO Kim Young-ha told Sports Chosun, “Regarding Kim Ji-soo’s transfer, a lawyer is currently reviewing the documents. It will be finalized this week at the earliest and next week at the latest. It will be another piece of history.” Seongnam coach Lee Ki-hyung also said, “When Kim Ji-su returns from the U-20 national team, he will see the owner. He will go to Brentford.” This suggests that virtually everything has been finalized, including work permit issues.
On top of that, Seongnam Mayor Shin Sang-jin, the owner of Seongnam, confirmed the news on his personal SNS (social networking service), making it virtually ‘official’. Shin wrote, “Pungseng High School’s Kim Ji-soo came to visit the mayor of Seongnam upon his return from Argentina today after the team reached the quarterfinals of the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Kim Ji-soo will leave the country next week to join Brentford in England’s top flight, the EPL.”
The issuance of Kim Ji-soo’s work permit seems to be the result of Korean soccer pulling together. “Chung Mong-kyu, president of the Korea Football Association, and Kwon Oh-gap, president of the Korea Professional Football Association, sent a letter of recommendation for Kim Ji-su’s work permit,” a fourth source said. Former national team coach Paulo Bento is also said to have spoken highly of Kim. In addition, the UK government’s work permit policy has recently changed. Kim Ji-soo is one of those cases.
Kim is considered the present and future of 메이저놀이터 Korean soccer. He turned professional last year as a high school student. He was Seongnam’s first semi-professional player, appearing in 19 matches of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2022. “He reminds me of Kim Min-jae (Napoli),” said former Jeonbuk Hyundai coach Kim Sang-sik, who led Team K League at the All-Star Game last summer.
Kim Ji-soo drew interest from European clubs early on. In the winter transfer market in January, ‘German giants’ Bayern Munich sent a letter of intent to Seongnam for the player. However, the transfer market was closed after the documents were exchanged. In this situation, interest in Kim Ji-soo became even more intense. According to multiple sources, “Bayern Munich’s interest in Kim Ji-soo appears to be valid. There is also interest from some clubs in the German Bundesliga, Sporting of Portugal, and others.”
Kim recently showcased his talents to the world at the recently concluded U-20 World Cup in Argentina, where he played as the starting center back for South Korea’s Kim Eun Jung Ho. His overwhelming physicality (1m92-84kg) combined with his soccer sense made him a force to be reckoned with. He started every game and led South Korea to the top four.
Kim arrived at Incheon International Airport on Thursday and is ready for a new challenge. When Kim joins Brentford, he will be the first South Korean teenager to play directly in the K League 2 (second division). Brentford, based in London, England, finished the 2022-2023 season in ninth place in the EPL with 15 wins, 14 draws and nine losses (59 points).