Bae Jun-ho (20) is going for the English dream.
Stoke City of the English Championship (2nd division) announced on Monday (July 31) that “Bae Joon-ho, who played in the K League, joins the team at the end of the summer transfer market.” He has signed a four-year contract and will join the team training immediately after completing a medical.
Bae departed for England on the morning of the 28th through Incheon International Airport. He was met at the airport by Daejeon Hana Citizen Secretary General Lee Jo-young, club staff, and fans. In an interview before his departure, he said, “This is a moment I’ve always dreamed of, but I wanted to go. I wanted to enter Europe, and I thought the final goal was the big leagues, and I’m still excited.”
Bae helped South Korea reach the quarterfinals of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, and he has attracted interest from several clubs. Tottenham, where Son Heung-min, the captain of the A team, plays, were interested. However, Bae Jun-ho prioritized his playing time. He chose Stoke City because they were willing to give him regular playing time.
Bae’s agent, Lim Se-jin of Root One Sports, said, “Stoke City were very active in pursuing him. After the loss to Millwall, the club said they should have had him.” “I didn’t think about seniority after the transfer. I looked for a team where I could play immediately and decided that Stoke City was the best place for (Bae) in the current situation.”
Lim wasn’t worried about joining Stoke City in the second tier. Rather, he believes he will have a better chance than in a country on the periphery of Europe. “Even though the championship is the second division, the level is higher than the Netherlands and Belgium. The facilities are also good, so I thought it would be very helpful for Bae to grow.”
Stoke City is currently undergoing a major rebuild. They have brought in 15 new players this season, including Bae. Bae is expected to add creativity to a team known for its upfront soccer. Meanwhile, Daejeon has also been proactive in pursuing Bae’s international career. This is because he joined the team after being called from a civic club to a corporate club.
Although there is a leakage of team power, they made a big decision for the player’s future. Officials from the Daejeon club also visited the departure hall to show their support. Not only the club, but also Ham Young-joo, the chairman of the parent company, Hana Financial Group, actively encouraged Bae to transfer.
Stoke also welcomed Bae Jun-ho. “Bae Jun-ho helped South Korea reach the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 in June,” Stoke said on its official website shortly after the announcement of the signing, “and this season and last season in particular, he has been an outstanding player in the center of Daejeon.”
Stoke Technical Director Ricky Martin added: “Junho Bae emerged as a target for us at the U-20 World Cup. “He has the technical ability and talent,” said Stoke Technical Director Ricky Martin, “but there will be a period of adjustment. But we believe in his potential. We believe he will get better and better.”
“I always dreamed of playing for England,” said Bae. My dream has come true. “I want to have a long and successful career at Stoke, and I hope to settle in quickly and contribute to the team,” he said. 안전놀이터
Meanwhile, Stoke have been in the Championship since the 2017-2018 season, when they were relegated to 19th place in the English Premier League (PL). They also failed to win promotion last season, finishing in 16th place. It will be interesting to see if Bae can be the spearhead of Stoke’s promotion push.