After breaking into the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) first-team, Lee Kang-in, 22, could be on the verge of taking over at Villarreal in the Spanish Primera Liga.
“Villarreal are confident of naming former Marseille coach Marcelino Garcia Toral, 58, as their new boss in the next few hours,” European transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano said on Wednesday (Nov. 11), adding that the Argentine will replace Jose Rojo Pacheta, 55, who was sacked today.
“Coach Pacheta has left the ‘yellow submarine’ (Villarreal’s nickname),” the club announced on its website a day earlier, saying “the club thanks him for the hard work, dedication, professionalism and warmth he has shown at the club and wishes him the best of luck for the future.”
Villarreal were left in a state of disarray when coach Unai Emery left for English Premier League (EPL) Aston Villa midway through last season. Pochettino came in after Quique Setien, who was also in charge of Barcelona, but failed to live up to expectations.
This will be Marcelino’s second time in charge of Villarreal. He was previously linked with the club in January 2013. Marcelino took over mid-season after the club was relegated and was able to bring them back to La Liga within a season.
Marcelino went on to lead Villarreal to a sixth-place finish and a spot in the UEFA Europa League. In the 2015-2016 season, they even made it to the Champions League. However, Marcelino was abruptly sacked the following season after a falling out with the hierarchy.
Marcelino is also well known to Korean fans. He was the coach who gave Lee Kang-in his debut at the senior level. After coming through the ranks of Valencia’s Mestalla youth team, Lee broke into the first team under Marcelino in the 2018-2019 season.
Lee made his first-team debut in July 2018 at the age of 17. Although it was a pre-season match, he became the first Asian player to play in the first team in the club’s history.
He made his regular-season debut in October of that year against Ebro in the Copa del Rey Round of 32 first leg. He became Valencia’s first Asian player and youngest debutant foreigner. 토토사이트
Marcelino gave Lee wings, but he had no intention of keeping the youngster. This led to conflicts with the club’s hierarchy, including president Peter Lim, over whether Lee should be loaned out.
Marcelino took charge of Ligue 1 side Marseille in June this year, following a spell at Athletic Club. Lee’s move to PSG has sparked speculation of a potential clash between the former priests.
PSG and Marseille actually met on September 25 in the sixth round of Ligue 1. However, Lee was away at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games at the time, and Marcelino’s sudden resignation just days before the game meant that the clash never happened.