South Korean international Park-Chu-Young played more minutes in London this summer at the Olympic Games than he has in his entire career with Arsenal. Now according to several reports it appears that the Gunners have written the 27-year-old striker off at a cost of £5.5 million.
Park was bought by manager Arsene Wenger from French club Monaco on transfer deadline day in 2011, perhaps as a panic buy. In fact, he was on his way to Lille and half way through his medical when Wenger stepped in and made his move. The problem I have with some of the reports is that they’re calling the South Korean a flop. If he had played numerous games and failed to perform that would be understandable. However, it’s hard to be a flop after playing approximately eight minutes in the Premier League for Arsenal and just 298 minutes in total. To be honest, he wasn’t really given the chance to be a flop at the Emirates.
Park has been sent to Spain this season to continue his career where he’s playing for Celta Vigo. He made history in the Spanish LaLiga on Sept. 22 by becoming the first South Korean to ever score in the league. He came on as a substitute in his home debut against Getafe and hammered home the game-winning goal just two minutes later in a 2-1 win. It was an excellent volley and his first touch of the match.
Writing off Park obviously cut into the profit margin for Arsenal for the past financial year, but reports pegged their profits at £36.6 million for the last financial year up until May 31. This bodes well for the club when it comes to UEFA’s complicated Financial Fair Play rules and the added television money from the new broadcasting contract will certainly help their position.
I’m not sure exactly how much scouting was done on Park before he was signed, but anybody looking at him now will see an accomplished player who has captained his national side numerous times and helped them win an Olympic Bronze medal this summer with a 2-0 win over arch enemy Japan. He scored two goals in the tournament, including the winner over Japan, and has also scored a World Cup goal, which came in 2010 in South Africa.
Park has 23 goals in 59 games for his country and has proven everywhere he’s played that he can put the ball in the net. He scored 18 goals in 26 games for his nation’s Under-20 team and then added 12 more in 29 Under-23 matches. In 96 games with FC Seoul he scored 35 more times before adding another 27 in 103 matches with Monaco in French Ligue 1.
Park, for whatever reason, was never given the chance by manager Arsene Wenger to show what he can do in England and his eight minutes of playing time came in last season’s 2-1 home loss to Manchester United. He also appeared in three Carling Cup matches and a pair of Champions League games. He managed to score the game winner in a 2-1 Carling Cup win over Bolton.
Even though Park’s been written off, it doesn’t mean that Arsenal still can’t or won’t make any money on him. He could still be sold during the next transfer window and if he keeps performing the way he is in Spain there’s a possibility that Celta Vigo might want to keep him. If nobody puts in a bid for the striker then it’s likely that Arsenal will let him leave on a free transfer.
Park may very well regret snubbing Lille for the Gunners and his decision could have come back to haunt him in the way of karma, but his career appears to be back on track at the moment. Still, I find it very odd that somebody with his credentials simply wasn’t given a chance at Arsenal. I wish him the best of luck in the future wherever he plays, because I find him an entertaining player to watch.