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Midfielder Lee Chung-yong to sign with K League's Ulsan, end Europe stint

All News 10:52 March 03, 2020

SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean midfielder Lee Chung-yong is coming home.

Ulsan Hyundai FC of the K League 1 announced Tuesday they have reached an agreement with Lee's German club, VfL Bochum, to bring the 31-year-old back to the South Korean circuit.

The deal will be completed after a medical test later Tuesday.

In this file photo from March 22, 2019, Lee Chung-yong of South Korea celebrates his goal against Bolivia in a men's friendly football match at Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan, 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Lee made his professional debut with another K League club, FC Seoul, in 2004 as a teenager. He began his European career by signing with the Premier League club Bolton Wanderers in 2009.

Lee then moved to another Premier League side, Crystal Palace, in February 2005. And after the 2017-2018 season, Lee signed with VfL Bochum in the second-tier 2. Bundesliga. His contract was to run through the end of the current season, but Ulsan agreed to pay an undisclosed amount of transfer fee to pluck the midfielder off the roster.

Lee has appeared in 89 games for South Korea and represented the country at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Ulsan must also pay FC Seoul a fee for signing Lee. When the player left FC Seoul, it was on the condition that Lee must first negotiate with the team if he wanted to return to the K League, and any other K League team that signs him had to pay FC Seoul.

A similar agreement proved to be the deal breaker when Lee's former FC Seoul teammate, Ki Sung-yueng, sought to rejoin the team last month. After his initial talks with FC Seoul fell through, Ki negotiated with another K League team, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. But Jeonbuk balked at paying FC Seoul for acquiring Ki, who ended up signing with Spanish club RCD Mallorca.

In this EPA file photo from Oct. 29, 2019, Lee Chung-yong of VfL Bochum (R) is in action against Joshua Kimmich of FC Bayern Munich during the teams' second round match at the German DFB Cup at Ruhrstadion in Bochum, Germany. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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