CHUNG-YONG Lee is facing up to leaving England after nine years.

The South Korea international is looking at options in Europe, Australia and Eastern Asia after UK work permit regulations made it impossible to consider a return to Wanderers.

Representative, Lee Kyung-Yong, of Sainspo Korea has confirmed: “It’s difficult to actually join a team in England due to the problem of the working visa.”

South Korea’s poor performance at this year’s World Cup meant they dropped to 57th in the FIFA World Rankings. They are expected to fare better in the next rankings but the announcement have now been delayed until mid-August – dashing any remaining hope Chung-Yong had of staying in the country.

The 30-year-old left Wanderers in 2014 to sign for Crystal Palace, where he played a measly 51 appearances in three-and-a-half seasons. And even if Korea do get back into the world’s top 50, the delay in rankings means he is unlikely to have played enough times in the previous 24 months to stand any chance of gaining a working visa in the UK.

Wanderers failed in an effort to bring him back in January on loan from Palace, after ex-Bolton boss Dougie Freedman put the stops on a move because of an injury in the squad. Consequently he failed to play enough football to make the Korea squad for the World Cup.

It is understood Wanderers had opened the door for a permanent return after he left Selhurst Park in the summer, provided red tape allowed, but have once again been thwarted.

The player wanted to investigate his options in Europe and had talks with one club in Bundesliga which eventually went nowhere.

Options are being explored in Belgium and Turkey, although the A-League in Australia and clubs in Japan are also being seriously considered.

“We are in contact with various leagues in Europe, including the second division of the big leagues,” Chung-Yong’s representative said. “It’s going to be out of line at least as soon as next week, at the latest two weeks,” said Yoon. It takes time because the player only played six times at Crystal Palace last season.”

Chung-Yong says he wants to play regular football, and has instructed his agent that salary is not an issue at his next club.

“I do not stick to the big league name. I am looking for a team that can steadily play the game again by raising my playing power,” he told the Korean press.

Chung-Yong had talked about his disappointment that the loan move in January – which could have provided the perfect answer to his international problems – did not work out as planned.

“What happened last week was I ready to go up north but I got a text from Tim Coe (Palace’s Chief Scout) and Dougie Freedman (Palace’s Sporting Director),” he told the Croydon Advertiser.

“Unfortunately, it was down to Bakary Sako’s injury (12 hours before at West Ham), and that they had to keep me at Palace and it was the best choice for the team.

“I was upset a little bit. I was at home, ready to go with my family when I got told, packing my stuff.

“I hadn’t quite left, but I nearly had. I do have to think about the team, but it was a great opportunity for me to go and play.

“I tried to tell Dougie, the manager (Roy Hodgson) and the chairman (Steve Parish), but nothing changed. So on Wednesday I was really disappointed.

“Bolton were also disappointed, but I couldn’t change anything. Maybe, if Bakary wasn’t injured, I could have gone.”

Chung-Yong was signed by Gary Megson for £2.3million in 2009 after being spotted playing for FC Seoul by scout Alan Harper.

The midfielder played 195 times and scored 20 goals – including a famous winner against Birmingham City in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.