Korea isn’t known as a likely destination for Spanish footballers, with many of the K-League’s foreign signings being from Brazil or The Balkans instead. The main exception to that has been former Racing Santander defender Osmar Barba who joined FC Seoul in 2014 after a spell in Thailand with Buriram United. However, ‘Osmar’, as he is known, is set to be joined by two new Spanish players.
Urko Vera has joined K-League champions and current league leaders Jeonbuk United from Segunda Division club Mirandes. The Basque born striker, who had a short spell with Athletic Bilbao in 2011, had been attracting interest from several La Liga clubs after an outstanding season at Mirandes where he scored seventeen goals over the last campaign.
The season prior to that he was an integral part of the Eibar squad that won promotion to La Liga after winning the Segunda Division. He is a player reaching the peak of his career, and will go into the Jeonbuk side as a direct replacement for Edu after the Brazilian striker, who played for Schalke 04 in between spells in the K-League, moved to Chinese side Hebei China Fortune.
The other Spanish player to join the K-League is CF Osasuna winger Sisi. The former Spanish Under-21 international never reached his full potential due to several major knee injuries in his career, and only managed twenty La Liga games during Osasuna’s most recent spell in the top flight. However the thirty-eight appearances that he made last season suggest that his injury worries are in the past.
The twenty-nine year-old would be a decent signing for any K-League side, but what is surprising about his transfer is that it is to Suwon FC, a side in Korea’s second tier, playing in the shadow of the city’s main club Suwon Bluewings.
While there are some quality players in the K-League Challenge, as Korea’s second tier is known, Sisi’s signing represents a massive coup for Suwon FC who currently sit in fourth place, and who are fourteen points behind the leaders Sangju Sangmu after twenty games.
Urko Vera and Sisi both looked as if they could have been signed by La Liga clubs this summer, so their decision to choose Korea is a surprising one to say the least.
Time will tell if they made the right decision, but in the meantime K-League fans can enjoy watching these two talented players.
Written by Steven Price
Check out more of his work on everything South Korean football at the excellent K-League Footy
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