PROFILE | Kang-in Lee epitomises PSG 2.0

Paris Saint-Germain’s off-loading of Lionel Messi and Neymar last summer cleared the way to begin creating a very different type of squad at the Parc des Princes. Arguably Kang-In Lee epitomises the new PSG.

Over two seasons at Valencia, he marked himself out as a huge talent, while at the same time starring for the South Korea national team, winning the Golden Ball for best player as his two goals and four assists led South Korea to second place in the 2019 U20 World Cup.

He joined Mallorca in the summer of 2021 and, after a first season in which he played regularly but did not have the greatest of returns statistically, last campaign he became their talisman, playing as the deeper lying forward. He was rated in the top 1% of dribblers in Europe’s major leagues and ended the season with six goals and seven assists (four of each coming in 2023) as Mallorca secured a top 10 La Liga finish.

His stand-out performances attracted PSG, who were looking to adapt their transfer policy from superstars with questionable motivation to those with a proven European pedigree but still with something to prove.

Kang-in Lee’s versatility a useful arm for Luis Enrique

The start of his PSG career has been a slow-burner. He missed the beginning of the season as he was helping South Korea to Asian Games gold and was then held up a little by injury niggles. The left-footer also “suffers” from being one of those players without a clearly set position: he has featured in every conceivable position in the attacking third of the field, while also proving a very capable number 8 and – in his most recent match against Metz – starring as a left wing-back.

Enrique himself, who has named him as a starter in Lee’s ten Ligue 1 appearances as well as in the final two matches of the Champions League group stage, is full of praise for him: “He’s a joy, a magnificent player. He can play on the wing, upfront, in midfield, he works defensively, he scores goals. He has personality and physicality […] he makes good decisions under pressure and he is hungry.”

The contrast with other left-sided players of PSG’s recent past couldn’t be starker and, while he is not (yet) so stellar a name, Lee’s skill set and attitude may yet see him help PSG to achieve their biggest ambitions.

GFFN | Jeremy Smith


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