The Guardian is reporting that Arsenal striker Park Chu-Young has been granted permission by the South Korean government to postpone his impending mandatory military service for up to ten years, thereby negating at least one of the reasons that we have all found that purchase to be so ridiculously weird.
All South Korean men are required by law to serve in the nation's military for two to three years, but because Park holds a 10-year residency visa from his time at AS Monaco, the Military Manpower Administration has given him permission to postpone his service until 2022. He was expected to have to begin service either this year or next year, which led many to ask why Arsene Wenger bought him out from under Lille at the end of the summer transfer window and then deploy him once in the league this season (and even then only in desperation against Manchester United).
Evidently Wenger just has a really good handle on how the South Korean Military Manpower Administration's bureaucracy works. Wenger knows?
This of course forces us to once again come to terms with the fact that Park Chu-Young does, in fact, exist, even though he has been barely visible since coming to Arsenal. The fact that his stay with the team will be extended certainly makes him either a more viable member of the squad going forward (presumably once he shows Wenger whatever he's looking for) or a legitimate player that can be moved on, if necessary. It was doubtful before this (at least to me) that another team would take a flyer on Park.
What seems most likely to me is that Park will feature as an occasional substitute the rest of this year, depending on his performances, and may back up Robin van Persie if the need arises. As we saw earlier this week Marouane Chamakh can't even perform on the reserve level at this point, whereas Park was key to the reserves' 3-0 defeat of West Brom, even scoring once. I have to assume that Park is above Chamakh on the depth chart now, and would be the more likely player to see playing time. If Lukas Podolski does in fact come to Arsenal in the summer, I would wager that one of Park or Chamakh will leave. With this news, I would prefer to keep Park, though a sale of the misfiring Moroccan may be harder to pull off.
Either way, this is most likely welcome news in the Arsenal camp, and depending on how much he was looking forward to spending three years in the army, possibly for the player as well.