Why Mariners' Kim capture could be signing of season


Central Coast Mariners may very well have made one of the signings of the season in South Korean midfielder Kim Eun-sun.

Just last season, the 31-year-old was captain of Suwon Bluewings, one of the biggest clubs in the country and two-time champion of Asia and now he is preparing to show Australian fans what he can do.

It is safe to say that signing such a player would normally be difficult for an A-League club but Kim's circumstances are not normal.

The mustachioed midfielder has been without a club of late which makes it much easier and cheaper for the Mariners to snap him up.

Last December the former Gwangju star was charged with drink driving in Seoul after being in an accident and found to be over the limit.

He was soon released by Suwon.

“Kim is a good player and made a big contribution to this team, but we decided to mete out a heavy punishment against him considering social responsibility and ethics,” the club said in a statement in January.

“We apologise to fans for the misconduct and will try to prevent such cases happening in the future.”

Kim was then hit with a 15-game ban from the K League that would kick in as soon as he was signed by another Korean club.

The league was especially disappointed as it had been stressing to players the dangers of drink driving from the end of the season just a few weeks before and warned of severe punishments for those caught.

It could well be, however, that Kim’s decision-making has improved with a move to Australia.

When he started out for Gwangju back in 2011, he was quickly identified as an aggressive ball-winning midfielder who could break into the national team in a position in which it was traditionally strong.

Despite a couple of call-ups, it never quite happened but Kim moved to Suwon and established himself as one of the best midfielders in the K League.

Since returning from his military service in 2017, he has struggled with injuries and 2018 was very much a stop-start season as the player just could not stay fit for any length of time.

Moving to the A-League with its gentler pace and fewer games may suit.

Kim is a fine defensive midfielder who uses the ball well and is technically capable.

Pace was never really part of his game so being the wrong side of 30 is not an issue even if he does not get forward as much as he used to. He has also improved his disciplinary record.

The move to Central Coast is a chance for a second start in his career.

If the former Suwon man can adapt to life away from the bright lights of Korea Republic off the pitch, stay fit, and stay out of trouble then Kim could prove to be a fantastic bit of business for the Mariners.