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Jesse Lingard transfer to FC Seoul brutally exposes Cristiano Ronaldo Saudi Pro League reality

Alex Brotherton

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Jesse Lingard transfer to FC Seoul brutally exposes Cristiano Ronaldo Saudi Pro League reality

Jesse Lingard could play in front of crowd double the size Cristiano Ronaldo attracts should he complete a surprise transfer.

Lingard has been without a club since June last year, when he was released by Nottingham Forest.

The former Manchester United star has been linked with several clubs since then, including Al-Ettifaq and Al-Shabab of the Saudi Pro League, Portland Timbers of MLS and even Barcelona, who Lingard reportedly offered his services to.

Last month Lingard severed ties with his agent after a several potential moves fell through.

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It looked like Lingard's search for a club would go on when Al-Shabab's attempt to sign him on deadline day fell through, but now the 31-year-old looks set to finally join a new club.

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Multiple reports claim that Lingard is on the verge of joining South Korean side FC Seoul.

The former England attacker is expected to fly to South Korea in the coming days to undergo a medical and sign an initial two-year contract, with the option of a third year.

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If he completes the move, then Lingard will play in front of larger crowds than Cristiano Ronaldo and several other European stars do in the Saudi Pro League.

According to Worldfootball.net, a total of over 4.2 million fans attended games in the 12-team K-League during the 2023 season, with FC Seoul averaging an attendance of almost 22,500.

Ronaldo- Getty
Ronaldo- Getty

By comparison, just over 2.4 million fans turned up to Saudi Pro League games during the 2022/23 campaign, with Ronaldo's Al-Nassr averaging home crowds of around 16,000.

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The Saudi Pro League has attracted criticism for low attendances despite the array of footballing talent on display.

South Korea has a proud football heritage, something that was boosted by the country co-hosting the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Japan.

The country's domestic league is not among the strongest in Asia and its teams are not among the richest, meaning the signing of Lingard would represent quite a coup.

FC Seoul currently have four non-South Korean players in Aleksandar Palocevic, Stanislav Iljutcenko, Willyan and Hosam Aiesh.

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The capital-based club finished a disappointing seventh in the 2023 regular season table, but avoided relegation by topping the post-season relegation play-offs standings.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Cristiano Ronaldo, Jesse Lingard, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Pro League, Al Nassr, South Korea, Manchester United

Alex Brotherton
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