Swansea City midfielder Ki Sung Yueng, out of contract in the Summer, has been attracting plenty of interest from various top league clubs, but what exactly has he done to earn it?
AC Milan have been the first club to be heavily linked with a move for the South Korean in the Summer, with some speculation suggesting that a deal is all but agreed.
According to Sky Sports, Premier League side Everton and another four clubs in the English top flight are interested in signing Ki, who’s available for free at the end of the season.
Everton latest club to show interest in signing Swansea City midfielder Ki Sung-yeung. AC Milan and 4 PL clubs also want him. Free agent this summer
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) April 25, 2018
But I have to ask, what’s he done exactly to attract all of this interest? He’s done next to nothing to earn himself a much bigger move within the next few months. He’ll most certainly join a bigger club as it seems unlikely that he’ll pen a new deal here, even if we do stay up.
The only explanation is that he just isn’t showing his true potential down here in South Wales. He’s a player who does have ability, there’s no denying that. He’s always hitting 90%-plus passing accuracy, but he offers very little else. He’s always been played as a deep-lying holding player, but defensively he doesn’t have the right attributes for that. He’s not a ball-winner and often shies out of tackles -arguably one of his biggest frustrations for Swans fans.
His other frustration is his lack of consistency. You might see the odd stand-out performance from him, but they are few and far between.
I’ve always preferred him when he’s played further forward. He has better attributes offensively than he does defensively. He can shoot and pick a pass when he wants, and it’s baffled me as to why managers have never given a chance to play in an attacking midfield role.
Maybe that’s what other clubs’ managers will do with him next season if they manage to sign him.
And as per the twitter discussion below, Ki isn’t the only player that is played in a holding role, when you could argue that they’d be better in a more attacking role. Is it simply because we’ve become more and more defensive-minded since the good old days of Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup? Leroy Fer is another player in the same bracket that springs to mind. Fer, another who can be frustrating, and like Ki – one who never looks interested in the defensive side to the game. Slow to track back, Fer has always offered in the opposition’s half, rather than our own. Last season, he had a habit of knowing when and where to be in the box to score some crucial goals. Only recently has Fer got back to being some sort of asset for us – enjoying a new lease of life under Carvalhal, having gone quiet since his goalscoring days under former boss Francesco Guidolin.
This is at the heart of Swans problems, which mostly stem from imbalance. Ki & Fer are best at 10, Clucas & Carroll are best wide, Sanches best as 8 or 10, and Mesa maybe the only DM/4 of the bunch, but a tempo setter rather than tackler. By playing attack-minded mids in >
— Max Hicks (@maxwellhicks) April 18, 2018
We've never really adequately replaced De Guzman as that box to box central midfielder. Someone to pick the ball up off the DM then start the attacks quickly either with a pass or a run. As you say, we've tried to shoehorn people in instead.
— Looking to the coast (@JCJJMB) April 18, 2018
Borja and a host of defenders have scored better points in this analysis than Ki!
Max Hicks did some good work with his “Regressive Assists Index”, not just looking at goals and direct assists, but 2nd assists, the player assisting the assister, and crediting players for helping goals happen. One example being players winning free-kicks that resulted in a goal. You can see the full detail and results via the twitter link below.
But Ki’s lowly position sums up the point of this article really. He’s way down there, with no goals and only a handful of assists, 1st and 2nd assists. Borja and a host of defenders have scored better points in this analysis than Ki!
This is an idea I've been playing around with for a while:
Regressive Assists Index : Swansea City 2016-17https://t.co/0Jog6LyS2K
— Max Hicks (@maxwellhicks) April 17, 2018