Aussie agent ups the Ante to smash Korea's transfer record

It’s not just Australian players making inroads in Asia, as China flexes its financial muscles to shake up world football’s transfer markets, with agents from Down Under now also getting in on the action.

Kim

Source: Supplied

In the week that Shanghai Shenhua parted company with Tim Cahill, Sydney-based Ante Alilovic, the man who took the Socceroos icon to China nearly a year ago on a multi-million dollar contract, brokered a deal this weekend that broke all previous Korea Republic transfer records.

Alilovic jetted to Jeollabuk-do, home of the defending four-time champions Jeonbuk Motors, to conclude Shanghai Shenhua's capture of highly-prized defender Kim Kee Hee for a history making $8.3 million.

The figure superseded the previous K League Classic record of $6.9 million paid by UAE side Al Ain to Pohang Steelers for striker Lee Myoung-ju in 2014.

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Alilovic, who is also masterminding Cahill’s hunt for a new club in either China or Korea, has become cashed-up Shenhua's go-to man when looking to snare talent in Asia or Australia, having won the trust of chairman Zhang Yuliang.



“It’s the biggest transfer ever to come out of Korea and to be part of that as an Australian shows that we can play our part in the marketplace in Asia, and not just when Australian players are involved,” Alilovic said.

“I knew that Shanghai were looking for a central defender and they gave me the mandate to find one who fitted their requirements."

Alilovic, who has forged close bonds with Shanghai Shenhua’s hierarchy over a number of years, said: "There were a few Aussies on the radar but the reality is the best had already gone with the likes of Trent Sainsbury, Matthew Spiranovic and Ryan McGowan already signing for Chinese clubs.

"I was aware that Kim had great quality from watching him play previously and things happened quickly from there."

A former professional in both Germany and Croatia during a career cut short by injury, Alilovic has no doubt that Kim will thrive in the Chinese Super League against a recently recruited ensemble of the world’s top strikers.

A team-mate of Socceroos defender Alex Wilkinson last season at Jeonbuk, Kim, 26, can operate as a centre-back, as well as right back and even a defensive midfielder, and boasts 13 national team caps for South Korea.

“He’s quality, big, strong, technically good and he will make his mark in China and won’t be fazed by anything,” Alilovic said.

Kim's arrival in Shanghai on a three-year deal, which includes a personal wage of $2.5 million a season, is the latest in a revolving door of deals involving the Chinese club.

The exits of Cahill, along with fellow foreigners Avraam Papadopoulos and Momo Sissoko, paved the way for the arrival of internationals Fredy Guarin and Obafemi Martins for the new season.

Meanwhile, Alilovic is confident that Cahill's future will be resolved in the coming days ahead of Friday's closure of the Chinese transfer window.

"That's the way things are heading. We are going through a number of options and we should have something sorted out early next week hopefully," he said.


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Published 21 February 2016 at 6:12pm
By David Lewis