Dundalk FC are hopeful of securing a special dispensation to complete the signing of South Korean winger Han Eui-gwon.
Last week Lilywhites head coach Filippo Giovagnoli revealed to The Argus that an agreement between the club and player had been reached but added that the move was now in doubt due to question marks over the 26-year-old’s eligibility for a work permit.
As part of an agreement between the FAI and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, a player seeking a work permit must “have participated in a minimum of 25% of his club’s league fixtures during the current or most recent full season.”
The issue with Eui-gwon is that he falls just outside this criteria having only played in 22% of K League matches for Suwon Samsung Bluewings last year.
Given that he was just one game away from reaching the quota required to receive a work permit in a season that was curtailed due to Covid-19 and in which he was often sidelined by injury, Dundalk are expected to argue that the “most recent full season” should apply.
In the 2019 campaign, Eui-gwon played in 76% of his side’s K League 1 matches.
Officials from South Korea are also understood to have written to Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar to plead the player’s case.
Speaking at an FAI press conference on Thursday to announce Bank of Ireland coming on board as an associate sponsor of the SSE Airtricity League, Giovagnoli said he was hopeful the deal could go through because he felt the winger had the potential to really shine in the league.
“I think the club is working on it.
“Han is a super talented player. I think Han in this league will be just amazing because he could be the star of the league.
“This could also make the League of Ireland known in Korea and in Asia. That would be amazing in my opinion but let’s see. I hope they can sort it out because he is a top player.”
Dundalk are also working on a number of other deals at present, with a young Scottish-based winger also on the radar, as well as at least one – if not two – new goalkeepers with former Huddersfield Town, Galway Utd, Cork City and Waterford keeper Tadhg Ryan understood to be on trial at Oriel Park at present.
Canadian underage international full back Terique Mohammed is also a target while a number of American players are also anticipated to join the set up at Oriel Park. These will include German Giammattei, who was listed among the squad for last December’s FAI Cup final, and Jesus ‘Chino’ Perez, who had a trial at Oriel Park in January last year before returning to America having been drafted by New York City FC.
It is also understood that the club have recruited a new goalkeeping coach in the form of Graham Byas, who most recently worked with Shamrock Rovers II and the Rovers academy at Roadstone.
While this had yet to be officially announced by the club prior to publication it would fulfil one of the gaping holes in the club’s ability to receive a licence to compete in the league this season as a UEFA A Licensed goalkeeping coach has been a requirement of the licensing process since 2018.
Meanwhile, there was another off the field departure at Oriel Park last week with Chief Business Officer David Minto handing in his notice to take up a new position at another local firm.