Transfer Tales: The story of Park's United move

Thursday 24 June 2021 15:00

Today marks the anniversary of the day Ji-sung Park signed for Manchester United back in 2005.

The South Korean moved from PSV Eindhoven shortly after reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League with the Dutch club, and became an influential player for Sir Alex Ferguson during one of the greatest periods in United history.
 
Park made 205 appearances and scored 27 goals in seven seasons with the club, and was an integral part of four Premier League successes and one Champions League win.
 
He remains a cult hero to Reds all across the world, who still sing the terrace chants that were created in his honour.
United Greats: Ji-sung Park Video

United Greats: Ji-sung Park

Fifteen years on from Ji-sung Park becoming a Red, relive some of the South Korean's best moments in a United shirt...

STORY OF THE TRANSFER
 
Park was 24 years old when the two clubs agreed a fee reported to be around £4m, and successfully passed his medical and obtained a work permit.
 
He had joined PSV in 2002 from Japanese club Kyoto Purple Sanga, and had already been capped 38 times by his country at that stage of his career.
 
He became the Reds’ second signing of a quietly important summer, alongside the crucial switch of Edwin van der Sar from Fulham.
 
Coincidentally, he was also the third player to make the move from PSV to United in the years around the turn of the millenium, following Jaap Stam (1998) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (2001).
Park had starred in PSV’s memorable run to the Champions League last four the season before joining, even opening the scoring in the second leg of the semi-final against AC Milan, where the Rossoneri progressed only by virtue of their one away goal.
 
“I am confident I can prove myself at one of the world's top clubs,” Park said upon signing.
 
“I want to show my value to United in terms of my ability – not for some marketing strategy for Asia. I am not going to England for business. Manchester United is the most famous club in the world. I am getting the chance to play in the best team with the best players.
 
“I am confident in my ability and will do my best to play as many games as I can.”

Why all Reds should toast Park article

He won't like the light being shone on him but Ji's 40th birthday is a chance to appreciate his contribution.

WHAT THEY SAID

Sir Alex Ferguson: “I think Ji-sung will give us fantastic energy and speed on either side. The games he impressed me most with PSV were when he played on the left-hand side and came infield, so I will start with him there to begin with and see how he develops. But Guus Hiddink said to me that he is improving every day, so it's a great option for me. He is quick, has fantastic energy and is good in the air. so the options are varied. He's a very mobile player and very quick. He has fantastic energy and to get players with that quality with the speed of the game is a real asset.”
 
Sammy McIlroy: “Park looked the part in the Champions League for PSV and is an attack-minded player unlike the likes of Kleberson or Djemba-Djemba. So much was made of United's goal output last season and I think Sir Alex will be looking for more from midfield. I think that's where Park may have a better chance of consistent selection compared to his predecessors.”
 
The Guardian: “Park would have cost significantly more had he not been within a year of becoming a free agent at PSV Eindhoven, and the 24-year-old will be viewed as the long-term replacement for Paul Scholes, whose performances have been increasingly erratic over the past two seasons. An attacking midfielder, Park attracted widespread acclaim for his performances in last season's Champions League semi-final against Milan, but United have been aware of him since the World Cup three years ago, when he played in all seven of South Korea's matches en route to the semi-finals.”

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