Lee Chung-yong secretly signed contract extension
Lee Chung-yong secretly agreed last summer to stay longer at Bolton Wanderers than his original contract period, multiple sources said Wednesday.
According to the Bolton News, the 23-year-old Korean winger signed a contract extension under the radar in August, tying him to the Trotters until 2015.
Wanderers Chairman Phil Gartside confirmed a player had signed a new deal through 2015 over a year ago via his official Twitter account.
However, Lee’s agent, TI Sports, declined to comment on the reports, citing the sensitivity of the issue.
All this comes as Lee’s future with Bolton has been under the spotlight.
With the midfielder missing all but two matches of the past campaign after breaking his leg in a preseason friendly, Wanderers were relegated to the Championship after finishing 18th in the English Premier League. The drop raised speculation that the Korean international whose maiden contract was due to expire in May next year might leave the Reebok Stadium as with the club looking to cut their wage bill and use any transfer fee to help the team return to the top tier.
Lee, who joined the club in 2009, makes about 3 billion won ($2.61 million) in annual salary, compared to the Championship’s average of 390 million won.
In addition, several suitors including Sunderland, Newcastle United and Turkish club Trabzonspor had reportedly expressed interest in Lee, who has scored nine goals and set up 16 in 78 appearances for Bolton.
"Lee Chung-yong has always been like a son to me. I will explore all the possibilities to sign him," Trabzonspor manager Senol Gunes said in a media interview during a stay in Korea last week.
The 59-year-old Turk coached Lee during his three-year stint between 2006 and 2009 at FC Seoul in the K-League.
“I will contact him while in Korea.”
However, the contract extension is likely to prevent him from moving to another club, given that Bolton would not sell him cheap due to Lee being on a long-term deal.