Park targeted by Belgian side
By Cho Mu-hyun
Former national team captain Park Chu-young, who is currently at the center of a heated debate concerning conscription evasion, is now the subject of a new transfer speculation.
According to Belgian news agency La Derniere Heure on Monday, the Arsenal forward is wanted by RSC Anderlecht. The Belgian side are reportedly hoping to attain Park in the summer transfer window.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is known to be interested in Anderlecht forward Matias Suarez, and may attempt to secure the Argentinean’s services by trading the Korean and Frenchman Marouane Chamakh.
Anderlecht are familiar to football fans here, as Incheon United defender and former national team member Seol Ki-hyun played for them from 2001 to 2004. They are currently top of the Belgian First Division.
Scouts from AC Monaco, Fulham and Anderlecht attended the reserve game between Arsenal and West Bromwich, in which the 26 year-old scored the opener after 17 minutes in a 3-0 win. All clubs that viewed the game are reportedly interested in signing Park.
The Korean footballer has been mainly restricted to the bench after his move from Monaco last year. He has made only six appearances for the Gunners and played only six minutes in his solitary Premier League game. His substitute-status has brought upon heavy criticism of him and the English side by fans here, shown by multiple websites that have emerged calling for a boycott of a planned Arsenal tour here that was reported by The Guardian in February.
Park was relegated to the reserve squad by Wenger along with unproductive forwards Chamakh and Andrey Arshavin last month. British media outlet Talksport chose him among their “Premier League Transfer Flop 11,” along with Stefan Savic, David de Gea and others who have delivered sub-par performances this season on Wednesday.
Park’s future has been one of the most talked-about in the football community here as he is in high demand for international duty with Korea. It is known that Olympic manager Hong Myung-bo is interested in selecting Park as a wild card for this summer’s London Games, while the manager of the senior side Choi Kang-hee deployed Park in the crucial World Cup qualifier against Kuwait on Feb. 29. Choi has also mentioned him as a possible first team pick for the final qualifying round for Brazil 2014 that begins in June.
The forward, who was hailed as a local football prodigy following his debut with FC Seoul in 2005, has been capped 58 times and scored 23 goals for his country. The unexpected slump following his move to Arsenal in August has surprised many players and fans alike here.