Why Hwang Hee-chan would be a massive coup for Arsenal
According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal have been credited with an interest in Red Bull Salzburg attacker Hwang Hee-chan, who caught the eye against Liverpool at Anfield on Matchday 2 of the UEFA Champions League last week.
Jurgen Klopp’s side got the better of Salzburg 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller to return to winning ways in Europe but the Austrian heavyweights won plenty of hearts and gave a good account of themselves to come back from three goals behind before succumbing to a Mo Salah strike.
Most of the build-up to the game at Anfield was centred around Norwegian striker Erling Braut Haaland following his hat-trick heroics on Matchday 1 in the 6-2 rout of Genk but it was Hwang Hee-chan who stole the show with a superb all-round display against the Reds.
The South Korean international turned Virgil van Dijk inside out before rifling past Adrian to start Salzburg’s comeback before setting up Japanese international Takumi Minamino for the second goal with some brilliant link-up play in the final third.
The 23-year-old has been monitored closely by scouts of several European clubs over the past few seasons and his incredible display at Anfield has been widely regarded as a massive breakthrough. (h/t Daily Mail)
There aren’t many who manage to humiliate a world-class commanding centre-back like van Dijk and Hwang Hee-chan certainly deserves plenty of plaudits for his performance against Liverpool.
As a matter of fact, he has been firing on all cylinders on all fronts for RB Salzburg even since the start of the campaign, with the Korean already boasting of an eye-watering tally of 7 goals and 10 assists in 11 appearances across all competitions, including two goals and three assists in two Champions League outings.
A youth product of South Korean outfit Pohang Steelers, Hwang Hee-chan was snapped up by Salzburg as a promising starlet back in 2015 and he has gone from strength to strength over the past few seasons.
The 23-year-old, who is capable of playing in wide attacking roles on either side of the pitch and also up top as a centre-forward, has registered 36 goals and 17 assists in 97 appearances for the Austrian heavyweights, while also earning 28 caps for South Korea at the senior international level.
Hwang has a contract until the end of the next season but a move to a bigger club looks very much on the cards next summer if he continues his rich vein of form.
To put things into perspective, Hwang Hee-chan shares a lot of similar attributes with Tottenham’s Heung-min Son and Arsenal should look at the Salzburg man as someone who could add that little bit more creativity and firepower to their attack.
It might not be fair to jump to a conclusion but, if Hwang’s display against Liverpool was anything to go by, the 23-year-old looks like a jet-heeled, mobile playmaking forward very much in the mould of Son and he apparently has all the raw attributes to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot in the Premier League.
Despite spending a club-record amount on Nicolas Pepe in the summer, Arsenal still have quite a few loose ends to tie up in their attack, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil no longer a part of Unai Emery’s plans moving forward. Pepe, too, has been quite disappointing if his massive £72 million price tag is anything to go by.
The departure of Alex Iwobi to Everton in the summer has opened the gates for fellow academy prospects like Reiss Nelson and Bukayo Saka to make an impact, whilst Dani Ceballos has proven himself to be an inspired addition to the club’s ranks.
In Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah, Saka and Nelson, Arsenal have some quality up and coming players in their ranks but someone like Hwang Hee-chan apparently has the skillset, as well as the experience, to be an upgrade on those aforementioned names.
The South Korean has shown the maturity to combine his technical abilities, creativity and vision with his energy, tenacity and eye for goal, meaning that his arrival could provide Arsenal with that much-needed X-Factor in the final third.
Despite the emergence of several youngsters, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has had to shoulder most of the goalscoring workload and the Korean could possibly reduce the burden on the veteran.
- More Arsenal News
- Should Arsenal sign Donyell Malen after selling him in 2017?
- Why Arsenal should reignite interest in Newcastle United star Fabian Schar
- Why Arsenal should look to beat Man United to starlet Logan Pye
Plus, his versatility to play anywhere across the forward line means that he would offer Emery with some valuable cover and competition in multiple areas of the pitch.
With that in mind, Arsenal making a move for the RB Salzburg man in January could be a step that enhances their chances of securing a top-four finish and making a much-awaited return to the Champions League.