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FC Seoul sign ex-Man United midfielder Jesse Lingard

FC Seoul announced Thursday they have signed former Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard. The K League 1 club finalized their contract with the English international three days after the 31-year-old midfielder arrived in South Korea to undergo his medical. Financial terms were not disclosed. "Based on respect for Korean football, I am excited to represent the K League as soon as possible by playing good football and dedication to my new team, FC Seoul," Lingard said in a statement released by FC Seoul. "I am looking forward to meeting coach Kim Gi-dong and to make an impact in the team." Lingard will have his introductory press conference later Thursday at Seoul World Cup Stadium and will then join his new team at their training camp in Japan. He instantly becomes the biggest international name to join the top South Korean league. When he landed at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, Monday evening, Lingard was greeted by some 200 fans clamoring for a glimpse of the English player. Lingar d made 232 appearances in all competitions for Man United after progressing through their youth academy. Lingard's best season with the Red Devils came in 2017-18, when he netted 13 goals in 48 matches in all competitions. Lingard won the UEFA Europa League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup with Manchester United. Lingard also had loan stints with Leicester City, Birmingham City, Brighton and Hove Albion, Derby County and West Ham United. He had been a free agent since leaving Nottingham Forest last summer. Earlier this season, Lingard trained with West Ham United, for whom he scored nine goals in 16 matches on loan during the 2020-2021 season, and also spent time training with the Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq. He has reportedly drawn offers from Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Internationally, Lingard has collected 32 caps for England, including six matches during the country's run to the semifinals at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. He has scored six goals for his national team. After finishing in third place amo ng 12 K League 1 clubs in 2019, FC Seoul ranked ninth, seventh, ninth and seventh over the next four campaigns. In 2023, though, they were the biggest draw in the K League 1, attracting just over 430,000 fans in their 19 home matches. They became the first K League 1 club on record to draw over 400,000 spectators in a season. Source: Yonhap News Agency