Lion City Sailors sign Korean star Kim Shin-wook as SPL's highest-paid player

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South Korean striker Kim Shin-wook will be joining Singapore Premier League champions Lion City Sailors
South Korean striker Kim Shin-wook will be joining Singapore Premier League champions Lion City Sailors (PHOTO: VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Reigning Singapore Premier League (SPL) champions Lion City Sailors have made another marquee signing, as they announced on Monday (15 November) that South Korean international striker Kim Shin-wook will join them next season.

The 33-year-old was signed from Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua on a free transfer and will join the club on a three-year contract reported to be worth more than $3 million, making him SPL's highest-paid player.

He will replace Croatian frontman Stipe Plazibat, who scored 23 goals in 25 games for the Sailors in two seasons.

Kim will arrive with plenty of experience competing in the Asian Champions League, a competition which the Sailors will take part in next season for the first time. The South Korean has won the competition twice while he was playing in the K-League - first with Ulsan Hyundai in 2012, then with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in 2016.

His K-League resume is also stellar: he was twice champion with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in 2017 and 2018, the league's Most Valuable Player in 2013 and top scorer in 2015. As an international striker, he already has 16 goals from 56 senior appearances.

He moved to the Shanghai Shenhua in 2019, reuniting with his former Jeonbuk manager Choi Kang-hee, and was instrumental in transforming the fortunes of the struggling club, helping them win the 2019 Chinese FA Cup.

In a media release on Monday, the Sailors said that the 1.98m-tall forward's aerial prowess brings an "additional dimension to their attack and set-pieces", although he is equally adept with the ball at his feet. 

Kim said in the media release that, upon presented with the Sailors' vision and ambition, he immediately knew he wanted to be part of the project.

"I’m delighted for the opportunity to build something with the Sailors, and I’m looking forward to the exciting challenge in the years ahead,” he added. 

This is the second season in a row in which the Sailors - Singapore's first privately-run professional football club and backed by tech giant Sea Limited - has made a big-money signing. Last season, they acquired Brazilian playmaker Diego Lopes from Portuguese side Rio Ave for $2.9 million, an SPL transfer record.

Besides Lopes, the Sailors also brought back Singapore national captain Hariss Harun from Johor Darul Ta'zim midway through the season, and the star signings helped them clinch their first SPL title last month.

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