The K-League returns on the 25th. In celebration of the opening, ‘Footballist’ introduces key recruits from each K League 1 team.
Last year’s winning team Ulsan Hyundai, Amano Jun and Germany’s Lee Dong-jun all moved to Jeonbuk Hyundai. Ulsan, which ranks second in the K-League squad, took away Jeonbuk’s championship last year after a persistent challenge, but Jeonbuk is again ahead in terms of recruitment ahead of this season.
Instead, the position where Ulsan can be seen as clearly stronger is at the forefront. Ulsan has been worried about the front line for several years. Last year’s top scorer Eom Won-sang (12 goals) and 2021 top scorer Lee Dong-jun 스포츠토토(11 goals) are both side resources and barely exceeded 10 goals. I needed a striker who could score around 20 goals. It was difficult to recruit good recruits from both domestic and foreign players, only at the forefront.
This year has been different. Martin Adam, who joined in the second half of last year, is expected, but Jo Min-gyu, who came from Jeju United, is more reliable. Joo Min-gyu is the top scorer in the K-League 1 for two consecutive years. In 2021, he became the top scorer with 22 goals, and last year, he tied for the highest score with 17 goals, and was pushed out of the points per game to become second after Cho Kyu-seong (Jeonbuk). Cho Kyu-seong has greatly improved both his skill and popularity as he played as the main striker in the World Cup, but Jeonbuk has said several times that he will send him to Europe after half of this season. As the saying goes, Ulsan, which can use Joo Min-gyu of equal scoring power throughout the season, has a more stable frontline.
Jumin-gyu is also a strong motivator. Ju Min-kyu, who was far from an elite course, has similarities with Cho Kyu-sung. As a midfielder, he belatedly adapted to the forefront in K-League 2, and moved to a strong K-League 1 team after standing out, but it was not easy to adapt, and he achieved growth in his skills in Sangmu. Jumin-gyu’s ups and downs were even worse, if I had to question it. It was the same last year too. It was the year after he won the top scorer, so I think he should be pampered by the club, but rather, his playing time has decreased.
Joo Min-kyu has won many individual awards, but his team trophy has nothing to do with it. It is all about winning the K-League 2 championship with Jeju in 2020. Joo Min-gyu revealed the reason for coming to Ulsan and said, “The biggest motivation is, of course, the championship. There is no championship in my career. I want to be an important player on the winning team.”
His speed and air power are average, but Ju Min-gyu’s sense of scoring is extraordinary. He combined a clean first touch and tenacity for goals. As can be seen from his thick body, his core is solid, so he has good strength to stand on his back, and because his aerial movements are stable, he is also good at scissor kicks and other outrageous shooting movements. In the early days of his transformation as a striker, he tried to contribute a lot to the team play as a midfielder, but depending on the manager’s order, there are cases where he only persistently aims for goals in the front line. Ulsan coach Hong Myung-bo said, “No one can doubt Ju Min-gyu’s ability.”