The day speculation began that Park Ji-sung might soon be done with professional soccer, I said that it was a darn shame. I saw the former Manchester United attacker as perfect MLS target.
Now we know the longtime South Korean international isn’t quite as “done” as some early reports indicated.
Park certainly has the requisite skill and experience, not only for those big years as role player for Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, but also for those 100 South Korean caps.
As I said that day (in the comments on this piece from Mike Prindiville), Major League Soccer is still a little short on Asian stars. Lee Nguyen, Dallas-born and raised but with Vietnamese roots is doing something about it in New England. And Vancouver has three excellent Asian transplants in Young-Pyo Lee, Daigo Kobayashi and Jun Marques Davidson. Those are the highlights – but they would all take a back seat to Park.
And today comes new that it just may happen. The Daily Mail says a “number of MLS clubs” would like to add the skillful midfielder, who will not return to relegated Queens Park Rangers next year. Don’t forget, Park played alongside Toronto manager Ryan Nelsen just a few months ago at Loftus Road.
Joe Prince-Wright also mentioned earlier today at PST that Park is an example of an older player who seems to fit in MLS (a league where older types are anything but a slam-dunk success, as we know).
Here is one more important element to remember as MLS clubs and, if you believe the Mail piece, even more teams in Asia, chase Park:
He may be 32, but it’s not exactly a “hard” 32. That’s down to his role at Manchester United, where he was a frequent Champions League participant but mostly someone to bring off the bench in Premiership matches. That surely prevented some wear on the tires, so to speak — and that makes Park something more of a 30- or 31-year old in practical terms.