2023 Preview: Can Busan IPark Embrace the Sun after a Long Storm?
The 2022 season was like a nightmare for Pride of Pusan; sacking Ricardo Peres after the long losing streak, Park Jin-sub's appointment, and countless player transfers. However, Busan IPark are trying their best to do better than the last season. Can they return to their golden era and get promoted to the first division after three years?
Busan IPark performed well in their last three games, winning all of them. Despite this, Busan showed a disappointing performance overall and ended the season in tenth place in the league, the worst performance in the club's history. The person who played the biggest role in this was former Busan manager Ricardo Peres. It has been more than half a year since he left, but what Peres influenced on Busan was significant enough. The biggest problem when Peres took charge of Busan was that the players failed to show their full capabilities in the second half of the game because of the lack of stamina due to a lack of physical training during the pre-season. Furthermore, there were many problems such as conflict with P.O.P and starting players in the wrong position. The result of Peres’ Busan also sank to the bottom of the table, winning only two in 17 games. Finally, on the first of June 2022, Busan IPark sacked Ricardo Peres.
After Peres left his desk, Park Jin-sub, who was in charge of the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors B team, was appointed as Busan's new manager. After Park Jin-sub's appointment, Busan brought ten new players into their team in the summer transfer window to supplement Busan's depth, “mainly focused on bringing veterans who were lacking in Busan.” However, while Busan’s goals scored were fewer than in Peres’ era, it was mostly because An Byung-jun, the team's top scorer, left the team around the same time through a trade with Suwon Samsung Bluewings. Park Jin-sub's Busan declared 2022 as a rebuilding period for the next season from the beginning. Although Busan fans experienced one win and two draws in three games since Park Jin-sub's launch, he also showed a dark side of not winning seven games from July. However, he showed hope for the 2023 season by winning all three final games with a promising performance.
Newcomers in the squadRookie contracts
Lee Hyun-Jun, Lee Hyeon-kyu, Jang Myeong-geun, Son Hwi, Kwak Seung-jo, Lee Jeong-yun, Yang Se-young
Choi Ki-yoon (Ulsan Hyundai), Choi Ji-mook (Seongnam FC), Fessin (SC Corinthians), Choi Gun-joo (Ansan Grenners)
Park Jong-woo, Koo Sang-min, Park Ho-young, Han Hee-hoon, and Sung Ho-young
Yoo Kyung-ryul, Choi Hyun (coach from Busan GK), Choi Kwang-hee (from Busan), Choi Joon-hyuk Physical
In the 2023 winter transfer market, Busan brought in a few players, unlike in the summer transfer window in the previous season. However, these players are qualified, including Choi Ki-yoon (a former youth from Busan who returned to Busan after a year at Ulsan), Choi Ji-mook (a player who was selected for Paulo Bento's Korean national team from Seongnam), and Choi Gun-joo (who showed outstanding performance every time he faced Busan, from Ansan Greeners).
There has also been a change in foreign players. Fessin, from SC Corinthians, is expected to provide creativity in the attack.
Seven players joined Busan IPark in their first team as a professional player, and these new players will be part of the Busan IPark Futures which is managed by formal Busan IPark’s first team coach Kim Chi-gon.
The news that supporters Pride of Pusan will be most pleased with is the contract renewal of the team's legend Park Jong-woo. Rumours spread that Park Jong-woo will move to the K League 1 team as a free agent after the winter transfer window opened. Busan fans were furious at rumours that their hero, who has sacrificed himself for the long term to the club, could transfer to another team.
In addition, Pride of Pusan believed that the rumour was true because Park was not listed as Busan’s Captain for the 2023 season.
However, shortly after that, Busan announced a contract renewal with Park, and the supporters were pleased about this more than any other news, with a meme stating that "Park Jong-woo's stay is like bringing a new player."
Which position do you need more?Busan IPark and the manager Park Jin-sub are trying hard to find a target striker, like Felipe when Park was in charge of Gwangju. In an interview with SportChosun, Park mentioned that Busan tried to sign a Brazilian target striker, but it didn’t go well because the player signed a new contract with his current club.
On the ninth of February, Park Jin-sub attended to the winter off-season media camp and mentioned the squad. Park said Busan was focused on this Brazilian striker since October, and it was so close to finalising the deal but failed to sign that player due to a problem that occurred in the final minutes but also mentioned that the team's business has finished except for another foreign player.
DepartedKim Jung Min, Kang Yoon Gu, Lee Kang Hee - Return to Parent Club
Koo Hyun-joon, Valentinos, Ryan Edwards, Dmagoj Drozek, Kim Jung-hyun, Kim Do-hyung, Moon Chang-jin, Jin Pirip - Contract Expired
Busan said goodbye to all foreign players except Lamas, who joined the team during the summer transfer window. Kim Jung-min, Kang Yoon-gu, and Lee Kang-hee, who did not take a big part in the team during the 2022 season, returned to their parent club.
The departure of players who played for Busan for a long time, including Koo Hyun-joon and Kim Jung-hyun, is regrettable.
CaptainCaptain - Lee Han Do
Vice Captains - Jung Won-jin and Kwon Hyeok-kyu
Busan IPark announced their captain of the 2023 season. Lee Han-do will be the captain of the team. Jung Won-jin and Kwon Hyuk-kyu will be the vice-captain to help communicate with the manager and the young players in the team.
What to look forward to in Busan in the 2023 seasonBusan IPark surely needs to be improved from the last season. In the last year, the Royals scored the lowest in the league and conceded fifth most as well.
Park keep said the biggest problem of the team was stamina since he was appointed as the team’s new manager. For this reason, Busan devoted lots of time in the off-season to increase the level of stamina.
Busan used half of last season to build the ‘team chemistry’ so we need to 'believe' they will show a better performance this season, and most of the key players stayed in the club. Park’s friend Yoo Kyung-ryul also joined the team as the assistant coach.
In the interviews, Park Jin-sub and the players said they would bring Busan back where this team originally belonged and their first goal is a promotion to the K League 1.
It will be interesting to watch how Busan has developed compared with the last season.
Young player to watchCho Wi-je
He is tall, but his physical strength makes it so great that he is one of the fastest players on the team. Another great strength of Cho is he also has the ability to deliver passes when the team advances the ball from the back. However, as he is a young player who joined last season, it seems difficult to maintain concentration throughout the 90 minutes. With the care of professional veteran centre-back Lee Han-do though, who joined the summer transfer window, it will be interesting to watch his progress toward being a better footballer.