Korean striker Jung Jo-guk, after spearheading FC Seoul‘s run to the K-League title, has reportedly agreed terms with French Ligue 1 outfit AJ Auxerre.
According to reports in Korea, Jung has already fled to France on Saturday and has agreed to Auxerre’s contract offer, making himself the third Korean to currently ply his trade in Ligue 1 alongside AS Monaco‘s Park Ju-young and Nam Tae-hee of Valenciennes FC. The length of the contract is yet to be known, but the transfer will be completed pending a medical which will take place in coming days.
Auxerre are struggling at 14th in Ligue 1 this season after an impressive third-place finish last season and clinched its UEFA Champions League berth, but the French side recently finished last in Group G which included Real Madrid, AC Milan and Ajax Amsterdam. The side is led by manager Jean Fernandez who, during his years at FC Metz from 2002 to 2005, was an essential figure in the development of Franck Ribery.
It is highly likely Jung is being pursued by Fernandez as lack of cutting edge in the final third has been one of Auxerre’s biggest weaknesses this season. No Auxerre player has scored over five goals this season. Benoit Pedretti and Valter Birsa are leading the side with five goals apiece in all competitions, but neither of them are forwards.
Jung had the best season of his career as he scored 13 goals and notched four assists en route to leading FC Seoul to its first ever K-League title. Jung’s goal tally reached double digits for the first time since 2003 when he scored 12 goals for Anyang LG and was voted as the K-League Young Player of the Year.
The 26 year-old has been underachieving for his country after the promise that was shown at youth level as he formed a potent striking partnership with Choi Sung-kuk in 2002 to lead Korea’s U-19 squad to Asian title. He then played at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in the following year where the young Taegeuk Warriors were eliminated by their arch rivals Japan in the Round of 16.
Jung’s highlight at international level was his hattrick against Taiwan in the final qualifying round of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup under then-national team manager Pim Verbeek.