“I’d like to play a game for Shimizu as soon as possible,” announced South Korean forward Ahn Jung Hwan on Wednesday at a press conference at a Tokyo hotel unveiling him as a Shimizu S-Pulse player.
“When you start at a new place, you tend to have expectations and uneasiness. I feel these but I’m excited about joining Shimizu,” Ahn said.
Ahn will officially sign a one-year contract with S-Pulse after taking a medical check on Thursday. He is expected to join the squad on the same day. According to Shimizu president Fumihiko Yasuoka, no transfer fee was involved as Ahn was released by Italian club Perugia.
Ahn became South Korea’s national hero after scoring an equalizer against the United States in a first-round game and the winning goal against Italy in the Round of 16 of the World Cup.
The former Daewoo Royals player came close to signing with English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers. But the deal collapsed after Ahn failed to meet the criteria to gain a work permit from the British government.
“I hadn’t played enough international games as was the case with (Alex) Santos’ proposed transfer to Charlton,” said Ahn.
Asked if he intends to transfer to a European club in January when the European transfer window re-opens, Ahn said, “Shimizu is my team from now. I’d like to do my best for the team. I’ve worked hard for the past year in Italy. I have no regrets.” Ahn played in 29 games and scored five goals for Perugia.
“I had a desire to play and live in Japan before,” Ahn said. “(South Korea striker) Choi Yong Soo of JEF United Ichihara also told me that Shimizu is a good team. Speed is important in soccer and Shimizu has speed and skillful players. I think that will suit my playing style.”
Yasumoto said that his club quickly needed to fill the gap left behind by Brazilian forward Baron, who recently suffered a broken eye bone, and the Division One club has been struggling this season. S-Pulse finished seventh in the first stage and is currently placed 12th.
Ahn said his fitness is at 70 percent after having trained under the guidance of a physical trainer in South Korea.
“I’ll prepare to be available for the Shimizu’s game on Sept. 28 against Urawa,” Ahn said.
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