Though he struggled to assert himself during his time in the Premier League, Dong-Won Ji has already proven his Bundesliga credentials ahead of a summer move to five-time Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund.
Jekyll and Hyde
Born in the Jeju Province of South Korean, on 28 May 1991, Ji began his footballing career with Chunnam Dragons' U-18 side, Gwangyang Jecheol High School. Having demonstrated great promise at youth level, the striker earned promotion into Chunnam’s first team ahead of the 2010 campaign, making his debut in February of the same year.
Having already dipped his toe into Premier League life in 2007 - joining Reading FC as part of the Korea Football Association’s footballers abroad program - Sunderland AFC came calling following his impressive showing in the 2011 Asian Cup, in which he finished just one goal behind top scorer Ja-Cheol Koo. However, the front man failed to live up to his promise on Wearside and, though he will be remembered for scoring the winning goal against Manchester City FC, two goals and two assists in 24 appearances left many questioning his top-flight capabilities.
Physical, agile, two-footed and a threat in the air, Ji nevertheless possesses all the qualities asked of a modern-day target man and used them all to great effect during a loan spell with FC Augsburg during the second half of the 2012/13 campaign. Despite standing at 6’2”, Ji showed what he was capable of in a free-roaming deep-lying forward position alongside compatriot Koo, registering five goals in 17 outings, helping die Függerstädter retain their place in Germany’s top flight.
Following an unsuccessful second stint at Sunderland, the South Korean international, who in his own words likes “to overwhelm defenders”, agreed to return to Augsburg for the second half of the 2013/14 season, before putting pen to paper on a deal to join Dortmund on a free transfer in the summer. “Dong-Won Ji is a player who can play in a variety of positions in attack," claimed sporting director Michael Zorc. With the 2014 FIFA World Cup on the horizon, Ji will undoubtedly be keen to make Sunderland regret letting him go.