Ki linked to EPL
Several English clubs interested in Celtic player
By Jung Min-ho
There are plenty of rumors that Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-yueng is on the verge of moving to a new team but to which one is the question.
Queens Park Rangers, Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa of the English Premier League have all shown interest in the Korea international last year. And according to British daily the Sun on Tuesday, “Liverpool are lining up a seven million pounds swoop for Ki.”
Scottish newspaper the Daily Record said last month that Rubin Kazan have also tracked Ki for more than a year and are the most persistent on landing him. The Russian club offered Celtic 6 million pounds ($9.4 million) for Ki in January but the bid was rejected. They have not given up and may test Celtic’s resolve with an offer of around 7 million pounds this week,
QPR Chairman Tony Fernandes has expressed interest in the midfielder saying, “Ki is a very good player and we are very aware of him and he is a player we will be watching and also monitoring closely.” The comments were made at a media conference were Ki’s compatriot Park Ji-sung signing with the Hoops on Monday. Sports Hankook reported Thursday that Ki’s agency sent someone to London, possibly to finalize a deal with QPR.
Celtic may look to cash in on Ki now as he has less than two years left on his contract. He joined the Scottish league champions from FC Seoul in December 2009 for 2 million pounds. Manager Neil Lennon confirmed that teams were looking at Ki and that he could move on saying, “He’s going to be linked with other clubs. He’s a good player,” in an interview with the Irish Sun on Sunday.
“We had interest from a Russian club but rebuffed their offer and we’ve not heard back since. He seems pretty happy here but everyone’s in the same boat — there will come a time when we have to sell because everyone has their price,” Lennon said.
Last year, Ki scored six goals in 30 games to help his team to win a 43rd league title, with several impressive performances.
Currently training with the Korea side for this summer’s London Games, Ki told reporters last week that he will wait until the Olympics are over to make any decision on his future declining to comment further on the transfer specualtion.
He will leave for London with the national team on Sunday after Saturday’s friendly with New Zealand in Seoul.
If a deal is agreed with the Hoops, local fans will see two Korean footballers playing at the same English Premier League club for the first time. They have appeared together before for Korea, including at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Park retired from international football last January after the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar.