Newcastle United are reportedly interested in Mallorca’s 21-year-old South Korean attacking midfielder Lee Kang-in.
Newcastle United are among the English clubs interested in signing South Korean starlet Lee Kang-in from Mallorca. That’s according to Spanish outfit Fichajes, who claim the creative midfielder is high on the Magpies’ shortlist as they look to add more high-quality, young players to their ranks.
Once regarded as a wonderkid, the 21-year-old rose through the youth ranks at Valencia and made his senior debut in 2018. Lee won the under-20 World Cup Golden Ball in 2019 after leading his side to the finals. He also won the Asian Young Footballer of the Year and Korean Young Footballer of the Year in 2019 and was highly rated.
The exciting youngster performed well enough during his limited minutes with Los Ches, boasting 6 goal contributions from 61 appearances, albeit only 28 were starts. With the turmoil and lack of leadership in the boardroom at Mestalla, his contract was surprisingly terminated, and he was let go for free.
Mallorca jumped at the opportunity and snapped him up on a free transfer despite heavy interest from Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers. It was a low-risk move for the then-newly promoted La Liga outfit that seemed to have already paid off.
The 21-year-old spent his debut campaign on the periphery of first-team football, but he has taken La Liga by storm this season, already netting once and registering three assists in six league games so far.
The underlying numbers back his progress both offensively and defensively, with his shots per game up from 1.2 last term to 2.2 this season, key passes increasing from 0.7 to 2, crosses from 0.4 to 1.5, and tackles rising from 0.4 to 1.3, indicating his overall growth.
Inevitably, suitors from across Europe, particularly from the Premier League, including Newcastle United, are keeping a close eye on his performances this season and may make an approach for him in the near future.
Newcastle United remain on the lookout for a creative midfielder, having seen their efforts to sign James Maddison last summer fall flat. While they may revisit their interest in the Englishman, it is highly unlikely that Leicester will let go of their talisman in the midst of a relegation battle.
To that end, Lee Kang-in could be a cost-effective option and has plenty of experience under his belt despite his tender age. Though, most importantly, he is a fabulous technical player.
Also capable of playing on the flanks, there are plenty of strings to a bow that cut through opposition defences in devastating fashion with his rapid acceleration due to his low centre of gravity, intent pressing, supreme close control, clever movements, and strong dribbling.
He’s always had the ability to impact games, but this season he’s becoming a more consistently creative and goal-scoring threat. At 21, he is still very young and fits the profile of a player who will grow with the Magpies’ project going forward.
It remains to be seen whether Newcastle will step up their interest in the 21-year-old South Korean international when the January transfer window rolls around.