PSM Makassar defensive midfielder Asnawi Mangkualam has reportedly sealed up a move to K League 2 side Ansan Greeners, according to South Korean media outlet KBS. The 21-year old Indonesia international is set to become the first Indonesian player to play in the top two tiers of South Korean football, however PSM has refused to comment anything about the move, brushing it off as mere “rumors.”
KBS conducted an interview with Joo Chan-yong, a high-ranking member of Ansan’s boardroom on Friday. During the interview, Joo revealed that his side has acquired the services of Asnawi on January 19th, with the defensive midfielder being tied to a one-year contract plus an option to extend for another year.
Should the transfer go through, Asnawi will join a select few Southeast Asian players who have experienced the top two tiers of South Korean football, with the list including Vietnamese duo Luong Xuan Truong and Nguyen Cong Phuong, Alvaro Silva of the Philippines, Thai legend Piyapong Pue-on, and Timor-Leste’s Pedro Henrique Oliveira.
It was reported by KBS that Indonesia national team head coach Shin Tae-yong played a major role in Asnawi’s transfer. Using his contacts back in his homeland, Tae-yong recommended Asnawi to the Ansan higher ups and the Green Wolves took no hesitation in signing up the Makassar native.
“As a defensive player, Asnawi is someone with high determination and spirit. He will thrive in the K League,” said Shin, as quoted from Tempo, “He is a young, promising player with experience in both the U-23 and senior national teams of Indonesia. His posture is his biggest strength and other than being a defensive midfielder he can perform well as a right-back.”
However, after KBS had conducted their interview with Joo, Indonesia’s very own detikSport cross-checked the news from South Korea with PSM media officer Sulaiman Abdul Karim. The Juku Eja representative denied that his club had any contact from Ansan regarding Asnawi, stating that PSM are unable to confirm anything at this stage.
“It’s mere rumors from the South Korean online media,” Sulaiman told detikSport, “We cannot give any confirmation about this since it’s all just rumors.”
However, Sulaiman also told detikSport that PSM will be more than happy to allow Asnawi to further his career overseas.
“Asnawi is an icon of PSM,” Sulaiman said, “He’s born and raised in Makassar and as a footballer he had grown up through the PSM youth system. With the current uncertainty regarding Indonesian football, it’s a very welcome news if one of our players decides to further his development overseas and PSM will support him all the way.”