Former Bundesliga man Koo Ja-cheol joins Qatar’s Al Gharafa

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Ex-Korea Republic star Koo Ja-cheol, who has spent the last nine seasons plying his trade in the Bundesliga, has sealed a move to Qatar Stars League outfit Al Gharafa.

The move was confirmed on the club’s official Twitter account and revealed that the midfielder will arrive in Doha on Saturday and, upon passing his medical, would then join up with his new team-mates at their training camp in Netherlands.

By joining the Cheetahs, Koo brings an end to a long and successful spell in the Bundesliga, which saw him play for three different teams.

Having joined Wolfsburg in January 2011, Koo spent time on loan at Augsburg before joining Mainz midway through the 2013/14 season.

A brief stay at the Opel Arena was then followed by a permanent return to Augsburg, whom he represented in the past four seasons to take his Bundesliga appearance total to an impressive 211 games.

Koo also ensured his place in the Bundesliga’s history books when he came the first-ever player to score a hat-trick for Augsburg in the top flight of German football – a feat he accomplished against Bayer Leverkusen in March 2016.

The 30-year-old also established himself as a key player for Korea Republic after winning his first cap in 2008 and captained his country at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, although he retired from international football at the conclusion of January’s AFC Asian Cup.

Koo’s arrival is yet another signal of intent by Al Gharafa to make amends for a disappointing 2018/19 campaign.

After sealing continental qualification in the previous two seasons, the Cheetahs slumped to an 8th-placed finish in the 12-team competition and finished a staggering 31 points behind eventual champions Al Sadd, despite boasting the likes of Dutch legend Wesley Sneijder, Iran star Mehdi Taremi and ex-Manchester City man Vladimir Weiss.