Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is often labeled as a genius in spotting young talent and nurturing them into world class players. Every now and again, however - like all managers - Wenger pulls off a blooper and the signing of Park Chu-Young surely fits into that category.
Those around the footballing world are still left scratching their heads at the £3m signing from AS Monaco. Just what did Wenger see in the striker to part with that money ? And probably more baffling, why is he still under contract at the Emirates Stadium ?
The South Korean, 28, began his playing career for FC Seoul before AS Monaco spent £1.5m to sign him up.
Park then went on to have a satisfactory career at Monaco without ever making any big headlines. In what some now look back on as a panic buy, Park was transferred to Arsenal in August 2011 and subsequently given the number 9 shirt.
What followed was the inevitable lack of first team football. Park Chu-Young only made a handful of appearances during the 2011/12 season. In fact, he made more appearances for his country than he did for his club.
Following the signing of Lukas Podolski, Park was then issued the number 30 shirt for the 2012/13 season, suggesting he was once again not going to be a part of the first team. He was later loaned out to Celta Vigo, where he became the first South Korean to score in La Liga.
Park has since returned to Arsenal after a year in Spain, but has only featured in the League Cup, in which Arsenal were knocked out by Chelsea. Even though Wenger did have something positive to say about his striker after giving him 9 minutes against the Blues:
'He was selected because he did well in training recently', the Arsenal manager continued to state that he’d be more than willing to let him go.
'Wigan were interested in signing the player. I would have done it (sanctioned the transfer), but in the end it wasn't realized because we didn't find an agreement with Wigan', Wenger continued.
With Wenger admitting that Park is surplus to requirements, and his South Korean national coach worried about his lack of game time, is there any sense in Park staying in North London ? The problem for all parties involved, however, is that due to a lack of competitive football, it might be a struggle for the Korean to find a club willing to take him on in January.
Should Park Chu-Young try to engineer a move away from Arsenal during the transfer window ?
image: © lodekka