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South Korea´s Lee headed for Middlesbrough

23 January 2007 08:59

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korean club Pohang Steelers has agreed to release striker Lee Dong-Gook, allowing him to join English Premiership club Middlesbrough, according to officials.

Lee, 27, will become the fourth South Korean to play in the Premier League following Park Ji-Sung of Manchester United, Lee Young-Pyo of Tottenham Hostpurs and Seol Ki-Hyeon of FC Reading.

"Pohang Steelers concluded a deal overnight with Middlesbrough on terms of his transfer," spokesman Shin Joo-Hyun told AFP.

"We will not receive Lee´s transfer fee but he must return to the Steelers if he comes back to South Korea," Shin said, adding that both sides would share Lee´s tansfer fee when he joins a third club.

Lee, nicknamed the ´Lion King´ by South Korea fans, played for his country at the 1998 World Cup finals in France as a 19-year-old but was left out by Dutch coach Guus Hiddink when his nation co-hosted the 2002 tournament.

He was expected to play in last year´s finals in Germany but was ruled out with a cruciate knee-ligament injury sustained playing for the Steelers in the K-League.

Lee played on loan for a German club, Werde Bremen, in 2001. He did not score a goal during his six months in Germany.

He endured seven months of rehabilitation before scoring a goal during two matches in October. He left for Britain early this month to take a three-week test for the club.

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