Daejeon Hana Citizen sign Ju Se-jong on permanent deal from Gamba Osaka
The 32-year-old former FC Seoul midfielder has signed a two-year contract after impressing on loan in the second half of 2022.
The move was announced on Sunday, 8th January by Gamba Osaka but Ju Se-jong is already in Thailand with Daejeon as part of the club's pre-season training camp.
Speaking via Daejeon's official channels, Ju said: "The thrilling moment of sealing promotion and everything coming to fruition last year has remained with me. I am very happy to be part of this new challenge with Daejeon and my teammates again this year. Throughout the winter we'll get ourselves ready for K League 1, make sure we're competitive and put on good performances."
|Image via Daejeon Hana Citizen
Daejeon Hana Citizen have already dipped into the transfer market with the acquisitions of 2022 K League 2 golden boot winner Yoo Kang-hyun and centre back Kim Hyeon-woo from Ulsan Hyundai, but the permanent signing of Ju Se-jong will be their most important of the winter window.
Ju, a K League 1 and 2 title winner with FC Seoul and Asan Mugunghwa (now Chungnam Asan), arrived on loan from Gamba Osaka last summer to try and play his way into Paulo Bento's World Cup squad.
He fell short in that endeavour but proved key in Daejeon winning promotion to the top flight via the playoffs.
What does he bring to Daejeon?
Ju's impact while on loan last year was instantly noticeable, adding a new dimension to Daejeon's play.
The Purples had looked a bit predictable in their build-up play and struggled, at times, to find the right pass at the right time.
But with Ju as the holding midfielder, Daejeon were able to sharpen their counterattacks and make the most of their speedy wide players by getting them in more advanced positions when possession was won.
Ju has excellent vision and pulled the strings from deep, threading passes through into the half spaces and switching the play when necessary.
An example of Ju's vision can be seen in Daejeon's quick transition from defence to attack in the second leg of the playoff final, where the former Korea international knows exactly where the ball needs to go and doesn't even need to take too much time to steady himself before finding the left winger.
His ability to drop in as a centre back when Daejeon are in possession, too, proved key tactically last year and allowed the likes of Cho Yu-min to step up from the back line.
In 19 appearances for Daejeon last year he scored one - the playoff final first leg match winner - and assisted three.
Ju ranked top in 2022 for passes made per 90 minutes with 67.23 and fifth for through passes per 90 (1.64) and 10th for accuracy at 40%.
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His overall passing accuracy was at 84%, long passes 62%, passes to final third 69%, and passes into penalty area 50%.
Ju is expected to be a key player for Daejeon Hana Citizen and will be one of the first names on Lee Min-sung's teamsheets.