GOOD NEWS: Another key player has moves to Swansea City for real…

The 22-year-old was linked to Championship side Swansea last week, but the transfer faltered after Gwangju rejected a $1 million offer.

It is unclear how much Gwangju demanded later, as an official reached by the Korea JoongAng Daily on Monday declined to comment, but the official said Wednesday that Gwangju FC CEO Noh Dong-il and a Swansea City representative would hold a video conference at 5 p.m. local time that day to discuss the transfer.

The clubs finalized the deal after that meeting, with Korean media reporting that the transfer fee landed around $1.2 million.

Gwangju will hold a farewell ceremony for Eom on Friday at Gwangju Football Stadium in Gwangju.

The absence of Eom will leave Gwangju stuck to find a replacement in the middle of the 2024 K League 1 season, where Gwangju sit in seventh place on the table as of Thursday.

Gwangju are only halfway through the 2024 campaign and will have a busier schedule next season due to the 2024-25 AFC Champions League Elite, which they qualified for after finishing in third place in the K League 1 last year.

Eom saw a relatively slow start to the 2024 campaign with two goals in 15 league fixtures but had been a core part of the squad since joining the southern club in 2021.

In his debut season, he established himself as a regular pick and appeared in 37 K League 1 matches recording four goals and one assist.

He pulled off another good performance the following season in the K League 2, scoring nine goals across 28 fixtures to lead his side to promotion back to the top tier.

That 2022 season also earned him K League 2 Young Player of the Year honors. The 2023 campaign saw him shifting himself to more of a playmaking role with which he racked up five goals and four assists across 28 games.

Eom’s strength is his speed and finishing, with Gwangju manager Lee Jung-hyo regularly praising both. He has played both on the left wing and in the center this season, scoring one goal from each position.

Eom has made one appearance for the senior Korean squad and he made it count, scoring a goal during his 14-minute debut with the Taeguk Warriors in a 5-1 rout against Iceland in January 2022.

But while he may not be a regular pick for the senior squad, Eom has made regular picks for the U-23 team. He’s been called up for seven games already this season, including as a core part of the squad that won the WAFF U-23 Championship in March.

Eom proved crucial in that tournament, scoring the winning goal in a 1-0 semifinal victory over Saudi Arabia, assisted by Stoke City’s Bae Jun-ho, to carry Korea through to the final. He played the full 90 minutes in the final as well, with Korea winning on penalties.

Eom also started most of Korea’s games at the AFC U-23 Asian Cup in April, which Korea exited in the quarterfinals.

His move to Swansea makes him the second Korean to play for the Championship side after Ki Sung-yueng, who was on the books with the club from 2012 through 2018, which spans from their second season in the Premier League after promotion to their last in the top tier before relegation to the second division.

Eom’s transfer also sets the stage for Korean derbies between him and Stoke City midfielder Bae in the 2024-25 Championship set to kick off in August.

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