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Tuesday 04 Jul 2017
Northern Ireland winger agrees deal with Gwangju FC

Northern Ireland international Niall McGinn will be playing his club football in South Korea for the next couple of years.

The 29-year-old winger today confirmed that he has signed a deal with K-League club Gwangju FC and said he is looking forward to “a new, exciting challenge” in Asia.

McGinn has spent the past five years at Aberdeen but earlier this summer he rejected an offer to extend his stay with the Scottish Premiership side. 

The Northern Ireland international, who has been capped 52 times, confirmed his move to South Korea on his Twitter account earlier today.

"This is a new, exciting challenge for me, one that is very different to anything I have experienced in my career to date,” said the former Dungannon Swifts, Derry City, Celtic and Brentford player.

The winger leaves Aberdeen after a season in which they finished runners-up in the Scottish Premiership to Celtic and also lost to the Glasgow outfit in the Scottish Cup and League Cup finals.

The father of McGinn's former Celtic team-mate Ki Sung-yueng is Gwanju’s president – and he personally visited Northern Ireland to seal the deal.

McGinn revealed: “I am absolutely delighted to have signed for Gwanju FC. Since I met the club president a few weeks ago in Belfast, I have been researching Asian football and Korean football in particular. I have been very impressed with what I have discovered.”

Gwangju currently sit bottom of the K-League after 17 games, picking up just 13 points. The winger admitted to the club website that he realises his new team are "in a difficult situation" but can’t wait to get started. 

And he added: "I am looking forward to continuing my career at Gwangju FC. I am the first Irish player ever to have signed for a Korean club."

McGinn also took to Twitter today to thank everyone at Aberdeen for their support at Pittodrie over the past five years. He thanked Dons boss Derek McInnes, assistant Tony Docherty and their predecessors, Craig Brown and Archie Knox, who signed him after a spell on loan to Brentford from Celtic. 

"After five great years, I am moving on, but I will always remember my Aberdeen days very fondly," he said.

"The fans at Aberdeen also deserve immense credit and thanks," he added. "They took me to their hearts and I took them to mine."

The exact terms of the deal with Gwangju have not been disclosed but it is understood McGinn will be playing for the South Korean club for at least two years.