The Chinese Super League may not be signing players at the breakneck speed it once was, but its restrictive roster rules continue to pay dividends for the Seattle Sounders.
The Sounders appear to have found their depth center back in South Korean Kim Kee-Hee. The 28-year-old was left looking for a new team after Shanghai Shenhau FC found itself with too many internationals. Although there’s been no official reports of the news, several outlets in China are reporting it as finalized.
Kim Kee Hee left Shanghai today and will soon join @seattlesounders Good Luck and Best Wishes! pic.twitter.com/PItCVU9uMu— Shanghai Shenhua FC (@shanghaishenhua) February 20, 2018
This is a similar situation to the one that resulted in the Sounders signing Gustav Svensson last year. In Svensson’s case, Guangzhou R&F picked up a big chunk of his contract which kept him from being a TAM player. The financials of this deal remain unknown.
An account out of China is reporting that he’ll be on his way to Seattle a day after reports that the club planned to sell him to an MLS side after signing Oscar Romero. Shanghai Shenhau already had Giovanni Moreno (their captain) and former Sounder Obafemi Martins as their foreign players.
#KimKeeHee jak podają chińskie źródła zmierza właśnie do U.S.A aby rozpocząć swoją przygodę z ligą #MLS. Koreańczyk nie został zarejestrowany przez swój dotychczasowy zespół Shenhua aby móc zrobić miejsce dla Paragwajczyka Oscara Romero.— Adam Błoński (@Adam_Blonski) February 19, 2018
KeeHee do brązowy medalista IO w Londynie pic.twitter.com/NnZlsSRVOl
Kee-Hee has spent most of his career playing in the Korean League where he won two titles with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. He transferred to Shanghai in 2016 for $6m in what his agent called the biggest transfer in Korean history. With the Korean National Team in 2012, he won a bronze medal at the London Olympics and still sees semi-regular call-ups to the full national team. There’s a decent chance he’d be named to South Korea’s World Cup roster. Although he’s primarily played center back, he has also played as a right back.