Lee Kang-in’s value to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has already been confirmed.
The club officially announced on Aug. 8 (KST) that it had signed Lee Kang-in to a five-year contract until 2028. On the 9th, the day after the announcement, jerseys with Lee’s name and number ’19’ went on sale at the PSG store located on the Champs-Elysees at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and at PSG’s home stadium, but they were already sold out.
On the 11th, the club’s official online store also started selling Lee Kang-in jerseys, and they are holding events with Lee Kang-in jerseys on their official SNS. This confirms Lee Kang-in’s value and popularity.
There are some teams that hang their heads in shame whenever there are reports of Lee’s popularity. This is Valencia CF, a team that developed Lee in their youth team before his debut in the 2018-19 Spanish Primera Liga. On that day, a local Valencian media outlet said, “Lee Kang-in is one of the worst transfers in Valencia’s history. It’s the biggest mistake they’ve ever made, and it’s a catastrophe for Valencia,” said one local media outlet.
After failing to recall the Golden Ball winner from the U-20 World Cup, Valencia were unable to wrap up the sale and terminated his contract. This was actually good news for Lee, who was given his release notice. Fans even used the phrase “escape from Valencia”.
He moved to Mallorca in the Spanish Primera Liga, where he flourished. He scored six goals and provided six assists in 36 appearances in his second season, making him a target for big clubs, and eventually joined PSG, one of France’s top clubs, for a transfer fee of approximately 31.1 billion won ($57 million).
PSG, now with Lee Kang-in, will travel to Korea with Lee Kang-in at the helm.
As part of the Coupang Play series, PSG will play a friendly against the K League’s Jeonbuk Hyundai next month at the Busan Asiad main stadium on March 3. PSG’s upcoming tour of Japan will end with a match against Inter Milan on March 1 before returning to Korea.
As mentioned earlier, PSG is the top team in France. The 11-time champions of the French professional soccer Ligue 1, including the 2022-23 season, were led by Lionel Messi (36-Inter Miami) until last season. They still have Brazilian soccer star Neymar (31) and Kylian Mbappe (25), who has been Ligue 1’s top scorer for three consecutive seasons.
However, the picture of Mbappe and Lee playing together in Busan is far from certain. Mbappe’s availability is unclear. Mbappe’s current relationship with PSG is at an all-time low. In a recent interview with France Football, Mbappe said, “Playing for PSG doesn’t help me win the Ballon d’Or. PSG is a divided team,” he recently told France Football 메이저도메인.
It’s unclear whether he’ll stay at PSG. Mbappe, who has one year left on his PSG contract, recently gave notice of his intention not to re-sign, waiving his option for a one-year extension. He plans to spend one more year at PSG without exercising the option or signing an extension and then leave as a free agent.
If this happens, PSG will have to watch Mbappe leave next summer, when his contract expires, without collecting a transfer fee. PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said: “There will be no free transfer for Mbappe. We have to make a decision by next week at the latest,” he said. At this point, it’s not surprising that PSG and Mbappe could part ways at any time.