According to reports in Italy, Manchester United are considering a surprise move for Napoli defender Kim Min-Jae in the upcoming summer transfer window. Manager Erik ten Hag wants to bolster his team’s back-line and the South Korean centre-back has been identified as a potential option.
The Red Devils currently have four centre-backs in their squad to choose from, but the future of club captain Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof are uncertain. Both have seen their playing-time reduce significantly this season and speculations suggest that they could seek regular game-time elsewhere.
Under Ten Hag’s management, the Old Trafford based outfit have improved their defensive performances, specially with the additions of Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro last summer. However, there is still room for improvement if the team wants to become a consistent contender for trophies.
According to Corriere dello Sport (via GOAL), Manchester United are planning an astonishing swoop for Napoli defender Kim Min-Jae this summer. The South Korean centre-back has been a standout performer for the Serie A side this season.
The 26-year-old has a release clause of £42 million, but the Red Devils must act promptly as it will only be active for a brief 15-day period, as reported by the Italian news outlet. Gli Azzurri have plans to increase his buy-out clause to £57 million ($69m) through a new contract this summer, but Kim may be tempted to join Old Trafford.
At the age of 24, Kim had already played professional football in South Korea and China before being noticed by Fenerbahce, who paid €3 million to acquire him. He spent one season in Turkey before Napoli purchased him for €18 million last summer.
The South Korea international has since become a crucial player for the Italian club during their most successful campaign of the 21st century. Kim has played in 25 of Napoli’s 26 league matches this season, starting in all of them (stats via Transfermarkt).
Kim Min-Jae has emerged as one of the top defensive talents in the Serie A. 26-year-old is widely recognised as one of Asia’s most promising young defenders due to his exceptional technical skills, physical strength, and tactical intelligence.
Le rituel avant le foot du samedi matin.
Regardez une compilation de Kim Min Jae, Le Dernier Samurai. pic.twitter.com/QbTVJ1ryDj
— #MassLive Demi Finale 🇲🇦🇶🇦 (@Mas93140) February 25, 2023
He is particularly notable for his physical prowess, utilising his 6’3” height to his advantage in aerial duels and physical battles. He also possesses excellent heading abilities, making him a formidable presence in both boxes. Despite his size, he is also agile and quick, allowing him to make timely tackles and interceptions.
Alongside his physical abilities, Kim is also recognised for his technical skills, notably his composed passing and ability to play the ball out from the back, a skill increasingly essential for modern centre-backs. He also has a powerful long-range shot and is a threat from set-pieces, having scored several goals in his career.
The Korean’s tactical awareness is another key attribute that sets him apart from other young defenders. He is a shrewd reader of the game and positions himself well to intercept passes and block shots. His decision-making skills are also excellent, and he is quick to adapt to changing game situations.
Overall, Kim Min-Jae’s unique combination of physicality, technical skills, and tactical intelligence make him a player of exceptional talent, one to watch in the coming years. Napoli will undoubtedly hope to keep hold of him, especially given his surprisingly affordable release clause.
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The 26-year-old was brought in by Napoli following Kalidou Koulibaly’s departure, and he has made a significant impact since joining the team. Despite his low release clause for foreign clubs, it is uncertain whether he would consider leaving the Italian side.
Manchester United are said to be very keen to trigger the current release clause of Kim Min-Jae, but they will have only a 15-day window to do so. If the Red Devils fail to act within the time period, they will have to pay a higher fee in the next season.
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