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Son to be joined by 100-million-euro winger from Wales

Posted September. 25, 2020 08:02,   

Updated September. 25, 2020 08:02


Guess what was the most controversial transfer in history of football? What comes to mind first should be Neymar, who was transferred from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in 2017. The French colossus footballer club paid 222 million euros for Neymar, the largest amount of transfer fee in history.

But there had been a precedent of such formidable deal before the Brazilian. According to Transfermarkt, a total seven players set new records of transfer fee since the beginning of the 21st century. The first milestone was reached by Hernan Crespo, who moved from AC Parma to SS Lazio for 56.81 million euros. But the record was written anew in merely two weeks by Louis Figo.

Since Figo, the records have been updated by Zinedine Zidane in 2001 (Real Madrid at 77.50 million euros), Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009 (Real Madrid at 94 million euros), Gareth Bale in 2013 (Real Madrid at 101 million euros), Paul Pogba in 2016 (Manchester United at 105 million euros), and Neymar in 2017.

Among them, Gareth Bale is enjoying a unique status among Korean football fans. The Welsh, who is coming back to the English Premier League as Son Heung-min’s teammate, ushered in the era of 100 million euros when Bale left Tottenham for Real Madrid. While Figo’s transfer mainly caused outrage among football fans, Bale’s was a milestone reaching a new height of footballers’ salary. The Welsh is coming back to his home in England in seven years. Though on lease, Bale will be playing alongside Son for a full year.

When Son joined Tottenham, commentators often compared him to Bale. Both are agile, excel at penetration, and have a similar build. And the Korean and the Welsh have joined forces as dreamed of by some footballer fans. For Son, the new addition can help motivate him to work harder to outperform Bale, who was once at the apex of global football market, in order to increase his value yet again. The potential synergy between the two can also serve as an opportunity for Bale to prove his relevance. The collaboration and the competition between the two wingers signify an upgrading and a new beginning at once.

Won-Hong Lee bluesky@donga.com