PSG’s Lee Kang-in to miss Sept. friendlies with injury, questionable for Asian Games

August 23, 2023

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) midfielder Lee Kang-in will miss September friendly matches due to an injury, while his status for the Asian Games later in the month is also in doubt.

PSG announced on their website Tuesday (France time) that Lee will “remain in treatment until at least the end of the international break” with a left quadriceps injury. The French club did not provide further details on when Lee sustained the injury.

Lee, who signed with PSG during the summer transfer window, has appeared in each of the club’s first two Ligue 1 matches of the season so far. There were no reports of injury following the most recent match against Toulouse on Saturday.

The French league will go on hiatus from Sept. 4 to 16, with the next FIFA international window set for Sept. 4-12.

In a Zoom interview with South Korean media last week, South Korea head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he would call up Lee for the Taegeuk Warriors’ next two friendlies: against Wales in the Welsh capital of Cardiff on Sept. 7, and against Saudi Arabia in Newcastle, England, on Sept. 12.

The plan for Klinsmann was then to send Lee to Hangzhou, China, for the Asian Games, where South Korea will try to win their fourth consecutive gold medal. The Asiad tournament is open to players under the age of 24, with each team allowed to carry a maximum three overage players.

Lee, 22, was named to the Asian Games squad in July but he has yet to play a match or even train with South Korea’s under-24 national team, coached by Hwan Sun-hong.

Since the Asian Games are not part of the FIFA calendar, clubs are not under any obligation to release their players for this event. Klinsmann noted during last week’s interview that Lee had a clause in his contract with PSG that would force the French club to send him to the Asian Games.

The stipulation, though, would all be for naught unless Lee can get healthy in time for the Asian Games. South Korea’s first group stage match is Sept. 19 against Kuwait, followed by Thailand on Sept. 21 and Bahrain on Sept. 24.

If Lee can help South Korea to the gold medal in China, he will earn an exemption from his mandatory military service, which will then set him up for an uninterrupted club career. Two other South Korean stars based in Europe, Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur and Kim Min-jae of Bayern Munich, both earned military service exemptions after winning the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games.