Hwang Ui-jo makes token appearance for Bordeaux as transfer rumors continue
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Hwang Ui-jo came on in the 88th minute of Bordeaux's Ligue 2 game against Niort on Saturday, appearing briefly for the recently-demoted French club as his long-awaited transfer no longer looks like a distant prospect.
French media reported Friday that Bordeaux have accepted an offer from Premier League club Nottingham Forest valued at 4 million euros ($4 million) with an additional 1 million euros in add-ons. The deal matches a reported offer from French club Brest, which Bordeaux have also tentatively accepted.
A Nottingham Forest move would theoretically fulfill Hwang's wish to move to the Premier League, although the recently-promoted club may not match the caliber of the sort of team that Hwang was hoping to attract.
Forest have also been incredibly active in the summer transfer window, making a total of 15 signings as of press time, raising questions over how much playing time Hwang would actually get with the club.
There are also reports that Forest does not actually intend to keep Hwang in the Premier League, but to immediately loan him out to Greek club Olympiacos. That move, which is feasible considering both clubs are owned by Greek businessman Evangelos Marinakis, would reunite Hwang Ui-jo with national team teammate Hwang In-beom, but would not fulfill his wish of finding a home in the Premier League.
Hwang has been looking for a way out of Bordeaux since the club was demoted and went into financial administration within the space of a couple of months. The club's financial woes complicated a possible move, making Bordeaux desperate to sell and encouraging other clubs to try and lowball an offer.
Wolverhampton Wanderers made an attempt last week at 2 million euros with a possible 1 million euros in add-ons, but Bordeaux rejected that offer. Whether Wolves will come back to the negotiating table remains to be seen.
Hwang has long been a transfer rumor favorite and is often suggested as an easy way for Bordeaux to make some much needed money.
In the summer of 2021, Hwang, who had been Bordeaux's top scorer in the 2020-21 season with 12 goals, was linked to clubs across Europe, with a last-minute deal with either an unnamed wealthy Russian club or Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon apparently falling through in the dying hours of the transfer window.
In January, Hwang was again expected to make a move, although a flurry of goals — including a hat trick against Strasbourg on January 23 — effectively closed that window.
At 5 million euros, Hwang, who was the top scorer for Bordeaux for the last two seasons, would likely still be seen as a great deal for most clubs.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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