SEOUL, Aug. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — FC Barcelona’s South Korean prospect Lee Seung-woo will move to the Italian side Hellas Verona FC, a source close to the player said Wednesday.
The source said Lee decided to join the Serie A outfit on a four-year deal and will complete his medical later Wednesday. Italian media reported that Verona agreed to pay Barca a transfer fee of 1.5 million euros (US$1.79 million), while the Catalans retain a buy-back option on the South Korean for two years.
If the transfer is completed, Lee will be the second South Korean to play in the Serie A after Ahn Jung-hwan, who was with Perugia from 2000 to 2002.
Lee has been training with Barca’s “B” team, the Spanish giants’ reserve squad, but he wasn’t expected to receive much playing time. With Honduran forward Choco Lozano and Brazilian attacking midfielder Vitinho having filled Barcelona B’s non-EU player quota, Lee has been subject to transfer speculation all summer.
In the second-division Spanish league, clubs can only field two players from outside the European Union.
Lee joined Barcelona’s youth program, better known as La Masia, in 2011.
Barcelona reportedly wanted to loan him to another club after signing him to a new deal in this summer, but Lee’s camp has been insisting on a complete transfer. The 19-year-old attacker was linked with a move to Borussia Dortmund or Dinamo Zagreb, according to the source.
Verona were promoted to the Italian first division after finishing second in the Serie B last season. The 1984-85 season Serie A champions have so far collected one draw and one loss this season.
Lee will be the latest South Korean football prospect to leave Barcelona. Last month, Jang Gyeol-hee signed with Greek side Asteras Tripoli FC, while Paik Seung-ho recently completed his move to Spanish club Girona FC on a three-year deal.
Paik first joined Barca’s youth team in 2010, and Jang followed him a year later.