Park Ji-Sung linked with move to MLS

ParkJiSung-WestBrom1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Another Premier League winner could soon be on his way to Major League Soccer.

According to The Daily Mail, Queens Park Rangers midfielder Park Ji-Sung has been linked with a move to North America, as MLS looks to expand their marketing reach into the Asian market.

With QPR’s relegation confirmed, numerous players including Park have been told they can look elsewhere, as their salaries will be too high to maintain in the Championship division of English soccer. The 32-year-old South Korean international won the Premier League four times and UEFA Champions League once during a seven year span at Manchester United.

The report states that Toronto FC are leaders to sign Park, as manager Ryan Nelsen played with Park earlier this season at QPR. Rumors earlier in the year linked Park with a potential move to Vancouver to join former South Korean national team teammate Lee Young-Pyo.

U.S. Men’s National Team fans with good memories will remember Park for the goal he scored in the 2002 World Cup that helped the United States advance out of the group stages. Park scored a winner against Portugal that knocked out the Portuguese and allowed the Americans to eventually reach the quarterfinals.

What do you make of this news? Do you believe Park would be a good fit in MLS? Where would you like to see him play.

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS Transfer News, MLS- Toronto FC. Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Park Ji-Sung linked with move to MLS

  1. Reboot says:

    He would fit in fine… middling in the MLS talent pool.

  2. ChiTown says:

    The report states that Toronto FC are leaders to sign Park, as manager Ryan Nelsen played with Park earlier this season at QPR.

    I laughed at this. But huge pick up–seriously.

  3. Josh D says:

    He’d be huge in Vancouver with the very large Korean population. I’ve been a supporter of his since 2002. He’s a classy guy whose stamina is still in place and whose injuries are few, which are both things you look at when considered an over age DP.

    Good pick up for whichever team gets him.

    • vik says:

      From a demographics point of view, LA would be a good choice too. Not sure if Chivas would want him, and LA would probably have to wait until Donovan leaves to add another DP (assuming Lampard is en route).

      • Jazzy Altidore says:

        lol we already tried “korean fan night.” it was perhaps the lamest marketing idea the galaxy ever tried.

  4. TomG says:

    Odd choice for a DP. He’s not really an offensive player as most are. He’s more of a versatile, box-to-box midfielder who can also split wide. He’s a work rate guy and Toronto needs people to put the ball in the back of the net, though he’d certainly help prevent some of those late goals they keep giving up. I’m nervous about sacrificing a DP slot to a work rate guy in his 30s. You certainly don’t have to ever worry about him not giving his all or using MLS as a tourist destination, but inevitably your work rate is going to start dropping off in your 30s.

    • Andrew says:

      That’s my concern as well. He’s also technically very solid, good enough to take most of South Korea’s free kicks and corners from 2003-2008, but his main trademark is work rate, and players inevitably slow down with age. Even though he’s managed to avoid serious injury so far in his career, the risk of injury goes up very quickly for high-work-rate players as they age.

      Then again, if he goes to TFC, he’d be an upgrade over Frings; worrying about the risk of injury is an improvement over having a player who’s constantly injured.

    • MrTuktoyaktuk says:

      Hopefully with Matias Laba, no more MF resources will be needed to support the defense. Even if Park isn’t exactly what we need, I wouldn’t mind taking advantage of the fire sale at QPR.

  5. tim says:

    Well since he’s a nice fit for FCD, we could use a box to box guy and more depth out wide.

    • Rory says:

      Pretty much describes what most of the league needs.

    • Soccerhorn says:

      He may not dive enough for an FCD player. (Sincerely, the city of Vancouver).

      • Stoopid says:

        Diving is a problem with soccer in general. Besides, get over it, I’m sure Vancouver has benefited from a dive somewhere along the line. Don’t hate because you were on the wrong side of a dive call.

  6. MLSsnob says:

    Whatev…

  7. MetroFlip73 says:

    would be great for RBNY. we need wide players, plus guys who can fill in centrally. lots of koreans in both NY state and NJ.

  8. Riggity says:

    He was reported to be contemplating retirement earlier this year…but if someone is going to throw money at him I’m sure he’ll take it

  9. Beto says:

    Glad to see TFC among the buzzards flying over QPR right now. So many good players for sale there. Park would be a great fit for any MLS team.

    • solles says:

      First, QPR are not selling, they have said they are going to try and hang on to as many of their current players as they can, to try and do a West Ham and bounce right back to the premier league with basically the same players they went down with. I wouldn’t expect many QPR players to be made available, though several will probably be bought by someone, most likely Cesar and Remy.

      Second, I think alot of people are assuming Park is the sameplayer he was 3 years ago with Manchester United. He is most definitely not. No speed left to speak of, he works hard but he is very much past it at the highest level. He could be a very expensive and very average MLS player.

  10. Beto says:

    Just a thought but why dont you hear more about aussis, kiwis and asians like park, cahill and neilsen looking to go to their side of the world after europe. Im all for them in MLS but you would think there would be a big push to bring them back to their domestic leagues instead of ours…

    • Brent says:

      I think it shows a testament to MLS. as much as foriegn fans talk down about our league pros and people who seen MLS grow can tell every year it gets better. DP’s are getting younger as well. Plus Park as famous as an athlete that you can be in Korea. My wife knows first hand since she from there. So for him, Cahill and, others to spurn their countries says a lot about the growth of soccer here.

      • Luis says:

        LOL..yes, a true testament to MLS where has beens come to cash in on good income just before retirement..LOL. Dude..get real! Why else would he accept a gig at MLS????

    • Josh D says:

      Money and the fact that the US, as a country, is on most people’s list of places to live. We’re also closer to Asia so their flights won’t be as long, especially if they go West Coast.

      • Luis says:

        More American delirium..who told you that the US is on “most people’s list of countries to live?” So American…all myth and no facts.

        • bryan says:

          being ignorant to that fact does not make it untrue. the truth is, the US is highly desirable and is among the top places for foreigners to want to move to. a study was just released a few ago on this…

  11. Charles says:

    EPL players looking to come here, or using MLS as one of their options, are a dime a dozen.

    32 years old, plays on a team that was relegated, what could go wrong ? And then we hear it. Toronto being the rumor…..

    • ChiTown says:

      You do realize that he was playing for Manchester United–starting that is–just last February.

      • TomG says:

        Yeah, but 32-years-old for a guy who relies on his speed is still risky. A guy like Giggs can still remain effective even after he can’t outrun everyone anymore, but he has a higher level of skill than Park. Most successful older players have a very high skill level. You don’t see many work horses still playing at a high level into their mid thirties. Park certainly isn’t unskilled, but does he have enough skill to be a dominant MLS player if his motor begins to wind down a bit? I’m not sure. I tend to think no. It will be interesting to see.

        • Christian says:

          Park was never a skilled player in England and he did more than just fine for 7 years at Manchester. I think he has more than enough skill to play in the MLS. His motor will be just fine in the slower pace of the MLS. I think he could provide 2 – 3 good years for Vancouver (hopefully Vancouver and not Toronto) ;)

      • Charles says:

        Ummm, yeah and he played on a team that was relegated this year.
        Maybe Man U couldn’t afford him……

  12. Christian says:

    I think Ji-Sung Park will do very well if he comes to MLS. I know he’s lost some of his pace with age, but you also have to take into account that the speed of play in MLS is much slower than in England. Because of that, I think he will work hard for his team while the pace of the game doesn’t pass him by. I would like to see him in Vancouver as I feel that is a team with quality and with a couple more players of high quality will be on the rise. Toronto needs more than just a couple of players!

    • TomG says:

      MLS is a pretty athletic league, though. If Park can’t outrun and outwork everyone the way he’s used to, will he still be worth a DP? I always liked him, but I worry that he’s the type of player that will decline pretty quickly once his legs begin to go.

      • Christian says:

        Park hasn’t outrun anyone in England for the past 4 years. His role has changed. He went from somoene who could outrun players, back in 2005 – 2008 to a player who works extremely hard, will track back and defend, will get into good spaces and do the little things asked of him. He won’t set the league on fire, but he will add a lot of professionalism to any club in MLS, and he will also work his socks off in this much slower league. Even when he won the MLS All-Star MVP, he was average and still did more than just fine against MLS opposition.

        • TomG says:

          Typically guys begin to really lose their legs around 32-35. If you look at steals leaders in baseball and watch their decline, it’s pretty stark. Without his legs, he will struggle to do many of the things you mentioned. I’m not saying he will definitely lose his legs, but it’s definitely a risk. If he were 35 I’d say no way.

          • Christian says:

            I definitely see your point. I would also say no at 35. I think he has 2-3 good years before he loses too much pace and stamina.

        • TomG says:

          Also, it’s not a much slower league in terms of the speed of the players. Not at all. MLS has extremely athletic and fit players. It’s slower in terms of the ball movement and the ball pressure.

          • Christian says:

            and that’s what i mean. i know there are some speedy players in this league, but the overall speed of thought, and movement is slower. i think he’ll be just fine in those terms. now isolate him 1v1 and you’re probably right.

            • TomG says:

              Going to be very interesting. Trying to think of box to box guys and when they started to fall off. The scary comp is Shalrie Joseph who fell off a cliff at around 32. Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira the same. I’m wondering If all the demands of the position tend to wear them down. It makes me nervous.

  13. ca2 says:

    way to go.

    Need more deals with the asian leagues like K League and J League as well as continued deals with leagues in South America. Smart move

  14. graeme says:

    From the TFC press conference the other day introducing M. Laba, Kevin Payne said they have no plans to bring in an older dp anytime soon. he would prefer to focus on younger players that will have an impact for years to come. If this is any indication of his plans, i would say Vancouver will be the lucky recipient.

  15. Larry says:

    Maybe we should ask his wife where he should play :-D?

    LA makes too much sense from a revenue and publicity point-of-view, so it probably won’t happen. Now, if his wife wanted them to go there…

  16. Rami says:

    Park with United was always a really good finisher as well

  17. Nic D "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

    He would be a solid pick up for every team in MLS. Vancouver, LA, Chivas (especially), Portland, Seatle, Montreal would be excellent places for JSP. Who needs to press the Green button for this to happen?

  18. solles says:

    Park has been straight up TERRIBLE for QPR this year, he is pretty clearly past it at Premier League level. He still has tons of energy and will work his socks off, perhaps he will fit better in MLS right now than in England, but if anyone pays DP money for this guy they are paying for his CV and not for the player.

  19. Soccerhorn says:

    A good fit on many rosters. Box to box, smart, big motor despite diminished quickness. Galaxy could use a guy like this to spell Juninho and Sarvas, who are playing huge minutes right now and getting beat up in the process. Not to mention the largest Korean community in the world outside Korea. But no way the Galaxy make him a DP.

  20. bryan says:

    hopefully he isn’t a DP. which he will be…

  21. Falsify says:

    He would do well at SKC replacing Espinoza.