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ON THIS DAY: 2009 - Bolton Sign Lee Chung-Yong 이청용

Five years eh!

Are you not entertained?
Are you not entertained?
Paul Gilham

Blimey.

Five years ago today, Bolton Wanderers and manager Gary Megson secured the £2.2m signing of Korean winger Lee Chung-Yong from FC Seoul.

Turning professional in 2004, Lee Chung-Yong was signed by manager Cho Kwang-Rae to join FC Seoul,  then known as Anyang LG Cheetahs. He would work his way through the ranks before making his full debut in 2006.

Noted Turkish manager Şenol Güneş took over at FC Seoul in 2007, and immediately turned to Lee Chung-Yong as one of the cornerstones of his attacking side which had youth at its heart. That season, Lee Chung-Yong began to break into the first team, playing in 15 league matches and scoring 3 goals.

The following year he made 22 appearances scoring 5 goals and providing 6 assists (but they don't matter). Both he and future Sunderland and Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-Yong became a popular duo in midfield, with fans nicknaming the pair "Ssang Yong" or "Double Dragon", a play on their given names.

In the 2009 season, Lee continued his good form and he completed a hat-trick of assists in the opening game of the season against Chunnam Dragons. It was around this time that he came to the attention of international scouts, with rumoured approaches from Manchester City being turned down by the club.

However, the promise of regular first team football and a voucher for Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe turned the player's head and he agreed a three year deal to join Bolton Wanderers in July 2009.

Lee became Bolton's fifth summer signing following the arrival of Paul Robinson from West Bromwich Albion, Sean Davis from Portsmouth, Sam Ricketts from Hull City and Zat Knight from Aston Villa.

"It has been my dream to play in England so I am so happy,"

"I now need to get to know my team-mates and adjust quickly to the style of play in the Premier League."

He made his first Bolton appearance in the opening day defeat against Sunderland at the Reebok Stadium and scored his first goal in a 2-1 victory against Birmingham City the next month.

Lee's impressive early form saw him named in the ESPN Soccernet Team of the Week twice in a row. At the end of his first season, Lee swept the boards at the club's award dinner, taking home the Player of the Year, Players' Player of the Year, and best newcomer awards.

Amid reported interest Liverpool after the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where he scored twice, he signed an extension to his contract, keeping him at Bolton until 2013.

His rapid rise to prominence was hampered in 2011 when he suffered a broken leg in a pre-season friendly. With the club in desperate straits in the Premier League, his return was rushed back ahead of schedule and he returned to the side as a second half substitute for Martin Petrov in Bolton's 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion. His return however was not enough to stop the club being relegated to the Championsip.

He was given a new contract that previous summer, extending his stay at the Reebok to the end of the 2014-15 season.

After a poor start to the season, manager Owen Coyle was replaced by Dougie Freedman. Lee suffered along with the rest of the squad displaying below-par form which was uncharacteristic of time at the club. Things did look up towards the end of the season as the side powered towards the Play Offs - but Freedman cocked that up by being too clever by half in the final game at home to Blackpool.

Lee went on to finish season with a respectable return of four goals and seven assists in the Championship, though assists don't matter. Despite transfer speculation that summer, Lee remained in the Championship with Bolton for the 2013/14 season though again failed to recapture his early form as the club finished 14th in the table.

A regular in the South Korean side since the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Lee has to date made 55 apparances for the national team, scoring six goals.

After his U-20 achievements, he was part of the 2008 Beijing Olympics U-23 national team. In May 2008, Lee was given his national team debut by Huh Jung-Moo in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualification match against Jordan. He would score his first national team goal against the same team in the return leg at home in September 2008.

He was also was one of the most consistent and important players in South Korea's successful seventh consecutive qualification for the World Cup and eighth overall, an Asian record.

He played in his first World Cup in South Africa in 2008 - he went on to score against Argentina, and again in the round of 16 match against Uruguay in South Korea's 2-1 defeat. He was named in the top 10 rising stars of the 2010 FIFA World Cup by Sports Illustrated.

Lee was selected for the South Korea squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He started all three games as Korea were eliminated at the group stage.

Career Statistics

Club

Season

Total

Apps

Goals

Apps

Goals

FC Seoul

2004

0

0

0

0

2005

0

0

0

0

2006

2

0

4

0

2007

15

3

25

3

2008

22

5

26

6

2009

15

3

23

3

Total

54

11

78

12

Bolton Wanderers

2009-10

34

4

40

5

2010-11

31

3

36

4

2011-12

2

0

2

0

2012-13

41

4

44

5

2013-14

45

3

47

3

2014-15

1

0

1

0

Total

154

14

170

17

Career total

208

25

248

29