Will Do take the A-League by storm?

by Michael Huguenin on Aug 02, 2012

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Pre-season transfer windows can be incredibly exciting and nervous times for football fans.

Without regular football action to occupy them, supporters become obsessed with potential changes to their club's squad.

Which players are my club looking at? What did they do last season? Should we go for youth or experience? All these questions and more race around inside the heads of supporters.

When a player is finally signed he is slotted into prospective formations. YouTube is scoured for highlights and some fans head to the Internet forums of former clubs to ask about the player's ability.

The new A-League season is still two months away but Australian football fans already have a number of new imports to evaluate, discuss and, potentially, embrace.

Melbourne Victory's recruitment of Marco Flores is undoubtedly the most impressive foreign player to be signed so far in this pre-season due to his impressive stint with Adelaide United two years ago. There are, however, plenty of new players that have been lured to the A-League that are yet unproven. Sydney FC's forward pair of Yairo Yau (Panama) and Krunoslav Lovrek (Croatia), Melbourne Heart midfielder Patrick Gerhardt (Liberia) and Victory's newest Brazilian, Guilherme Finkler - just to name a few.

But it is Brisbane Roar's only new import signing so far that could have the most impact on the A-League long term.

Korean winger Do Dong-Hyun has been snapped up by the dual-reigning A-League champions on a three-year deal. The 19 year old has never played senior football but is reportedly highly rated in his home country and has been involved with Korea Republic's Under 20 national team.

Do's move to Brisbane is only the second time an A-League club has been able to attract a young player on the rise from one of Asia's top nations.

In January 2008, Newcastle Jets signed midfielder Song Jin-Hyung just prior to the A-League final series.

Song hit the ground running, playing a key role in Newcastle's run to the championship. The skilful midfielder, who joined Newcastle from FC Seoul, racked up 49 appearances with the Jets before he left to sign for second-tier French club Tours FC.

While the 24 year old is now back home in Korea, having signed with Jeju United at the start of the year, there is no doubt the A-League played an important role in developing Song into a more all-round footballer and gave him a crack at Europe.

The A-League's physicality is often bemoaned as a negative when clubs try to attract foreigners but in the case of Song and Do, the rough and tumble of our national league, can be a good learning experience. There are plenty of stories of young Asian players heading to Europe and struggling to cope with a more physical style of play. Australian clubs can offer aspiring Korean and Japanese footballers a chance to develop that side of their game before they go to Europe.

Australia will also benefit in having footballers like Do playing here. The A-League's experience in the AFC Champions League has shown Australian players generally struggle with the technical aspects of football. More imports from eastern Asia will surely improve that side of the A-League. Expect Brisbane's Australian players to pick up a few things while playing alongside Do.

The slightly-built winger has already impressed his Roar teammates with Besart Berisha having described him as 'a big talent'. Do will surely be targeted by opposition defenders when the A-League season begins in October to try and knock him off his game. But if Do can adapt, succeed and, potentially, move on to a bigger stage in Europe, it should be easy for A-League clubs to sell a stint in Australia to the next generation of players from leagues in countries like Japan, Korea and China.

With so many of Australia's promising youngsters being snapped up by clubs from eastern Asia, it is about time some of the talent flowed the other way.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelHuguenin