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Bavarian Wunderkind Watch: Wooyeong Jeong

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In this edition of Bavarian Wunderkind Watch we will look at the prospects of Bayern Munich’s first Korean player who looks ready to breakthrough in the Bundesliga like his world class compatriot.

Juventus v FC Bayern Munich - International Champions Cup 2018 Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Wooyeong Jeong alongside the likes of Joshua Zirkzee, Alex Timossi Andersson, and even Chris Richards, represents a concerted effort by the Bavarian giants to cast their net beyond Germany’s borders in search of the next starlet who has what it takes to breakthrough at the Allianz.

Wooyeong Jeong

Age: 18

Nationality: South Korean

Position: Winger

Background

Wooyeong Jeong arrived from Incheon United in January of 2018 for a fee believed to be around €700,000 (transfermarkt). The versatile winger can play on the left and the right, and has even featured in a deeper, central role. The Rekordmeister’s first Korean player followed in the footsteps of his compatriot, Son Hueng-min, who broke onto the scene at fellow Bundesliga-side Bayer Leverkusen before moving to Tottenham where he has become a household name.

The 18-year-old Korean arrived in Bavaria as a relative unknown on the European stage, but his impressive trial with Die Roten and reputation in his native South Korea shows just how impressive Bayern’s scouting network is. The crafty winger has featured for Bayern’s U19s, Bayern II, and even the senior squad in preseason friendlies. He was also one of the players selected to practice with the first team as Kovac awaited the return of his World Cup stars.

Despite his rise from anonymity, the young prospect has already made a big impression since his recent arrival in Munich.

Stats

Unfortunately, I was unable to obtain his stats from his time in Incheon United and South Korea’s youth ranks, but the available numbers tell an interesting story. The young playmaker featured four times for the U19s in the back end of the 2017/18 campaign, netting one goal and assisting two. Despite his limited action since his arrival in January, the Bayern youth bosses saw it fit to promote Jeong to Bayern II in order to test his mettle in a more physical competition. In eight appearances for Bayern II in the 2018/19 campaign, the 18-year-old has justified this decision, scoring three and assisting three more (transfermarkt).

He also appeared twice off the bench in first-team friendly matches against Juventus and the Chicago Fire, putting in a lively shift, without much to show for it.

Scouting Report

Technically, Jeong has all of the tools to succeed at the highest level. Although he is considered right-footed, he is more than competent with his weak foot, making him a threat on either wing. When he dribbles, it seems as though the ball is glued to his boot, weaving through defenders at full-speed.

Anybody can beat a defender, but the pacey winger has a surprisingly complete end product for his age. The 18-year-old can manufacture scoring opportunities for himself and does not shy away from the opportunity to bag a goal. He places his shots well and is a threat from distance cutting in from either wing.

In addition to his finishing ability, he possesses a range of passing uncommon for wingers. The young prospect enjoys playing quick one-twos and utilizes a decent amount of flair in doing so. Most significantly, however, he can pick out a long pass and has demonstrated an ability to put in an accurate cross or switch the play in an instant. His passing ability allowed him to slot in in a deeper role against Juventus in the International Champions Cup.

Athletically, he has what all modern attackers need. A combination of speed, acceleration and agility coupled with his technical gifts allow him to beat defenders with pace and trickery. The Korean has demonstrated an ability to beat defenders down the touch-line and cutting inside.

The facet of his game that truly sets him apart is his awareness and work rate. He is ALWAYS moving off the ball, making runs in behind defenders and probing for a whole in the defense. He consistently pops up in dangerous positions in and around the box and his tireless style of play wreaks havoc on opposing defenses. His skill set makes him a threat to make a decisive play at any moment whether it is creating chances or capitalizing on the work of his teammates.

Standing at 5’10’’ with a slight build, Jeong’s only glaring weakness is his strength, which was evident in his first team appearances this preseason as he was muscled off the ball on a several occasions. Despite his relatively slight build, the hot prospect has held his own in the physically grueling Regionaliga thanks to his athleticism, intelligence, and technical ability. As he continues to develop and adjust to a more physical style of play, the Korean youth product has what it takes to make the jump sooner rather than later. It is not outside the realm of possibility to see him in meaningless Bundesliga matches to close the season (if Bayern run away with the league...again) this year.

Although Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies will be ahead of him in the pecking order, the departure of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery will open the door for another winger. If the Bayern brass opt to trust in youth, Wooyeong Jeong may be the beneficiary of this philosophy. If a big money signing arrives as promised, the young winger would benefit from Bundesliga-minutes on loan. The gifted attacker has not flinched in the face of older and more talented competition. If his rise continues at this pace, he could be the perfect addition to the stable of wingers at the Allianz.

Next Up: Alex Timossi Andersson