THE World Cup was meant to be a stage for Chung-Yong Lee to showcase his footballing skills; how sad that he fluffed his lines.
Despite the best efforts of commentators on both terrestrial channels, it seems unlikely that the winger’s efforts in Brazil have attracted any new potential buyers.
It is no secret that the Whites are open to offers for the 25-year-old, now in the last year of his contract. One wonders if they will get any takers this summer?
When mentioned on television in the last couple of weeks Chung-Yong’s name was routinely followed by the phrase “expected to leave Bolton” and it can be reasonably assumed that after five years at Bolton, he would be open to experiences outside the Championship.
He was definitely not alone in disappointing. Korea fancied their chances of getting out of the group but failed to build on an unspectacular opening draw with Russia.
The Koreans did get their football flowing in brief spells but paid dearly for some dreadful defending in a 4-2 defeat against Algeria and just did not have the guile or the muscle to earn anything against the Belgians.
Chung-Yong was not alone in under-performing but the fingers of blame back home in Korea are likely to point at the fact he is no longer playing in one of Europe’s top leagues, rather than his own misgivings.
Such is his fame back home in Seoul, speculation over his future has continued at ferocious pace. He continues to be linked with Premier League clubs like Hull City, Everton and Stoke despite – as any Whites regular will tell you – enjoying a fairly average year on the pitch.
Wanderers insist they have yet to receive a single concrete offer despite all the apparent attention and might now feel their best chance to make a profit on the £2.3million they paid FC Seoul in 2009 has passed.
This summer was a big chance for Chung-Yong to shine on the biggest stage of all but unlike his previous World Cup in 2010, where his energy, movement and goals marked him out as Korea’s best player, this was something completely different.
Perhaps two years in the Championship has taken its toll? Perhaps that horrific injury suffered in pre-season three years ago now is still affecting his physical or mental performance on the pitch?
One thing is for sure, the player we saw marginalised for so much of his three group matches was a far cry from the one who once lit up the Premier League.
Chung-Yong remains the most technically-gifted player in the Wanderers pack and I am convinced he would flourish in a more artisan environment like the Premier League.
But Dougie Freedman’s side look like they are in for another hard grind, and while Lee has never let anyone down for effort, he now looks like a player running close to empty.