It’s been a long time coming, but Manchester United’s interest in Kim Min-Jae (27-Manchester United) has been well documented. If local reports are to be believed, a deal is in the works.
“Manchester United (Man Utd) have been trying to sign Kim Min Jae (Napoli) for about seven months,” British outlet Team Talk reported on July 22.
With the summer transfer window fast approaching, big clubs have been courting Kim Min-jae. Among them, Man United are reportedly interested in the player.
“United are hoping to reach a positive conclusion with Kim Min-jae as manager Eric ten Haag looks to implement the second phase of the club’s rebuilding program,” says Team Talk. The Red Devils won the Carabao Cup and finished in the top four in the league. Van Gaal has done a great job in his first season in charge, and if they can beat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the FA Cup final, they can add an FA Cup trophy to their cabinet.”
And indeed they have. United has 21 wins, six draws, and nine losses this season, with 69 points, and sits in fourth place with two league games remaining. With third-place Newcastle (70 points) having played one more game, they can finish third on their own. Add to that a 2-0 victory over Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium in February, lifting the trophy for the first time in six years. Now, on March 3, United will attempt to win the FA Cup final against Manchester City.
‘One striker, one midfielder and one defender,’ says Manchester United manager Eric ten Hagh… and that defender is Kim Min-Jae.
Team Talk says: “United now need to take a point from their remaining two games to book their place in the UEFA Champions League. We are now putting plans in place for a busy summer at Old Trafford.” Among those plans is, of course, strengthening the squad.
“It remains to be seen how much money van Gaal will spend,” the outlet said. “Amid claims that chairman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani is set to take over the club, reports in Spanish media have suggested he will spend €500 million ($712.2 million) on the transfer of two Barcelona stars. However, it’s more realistic to say that Van Gaal has offered three big-name signings.”
According to Team Talk, Van Gaal is asking for three players: a striker, a midfielder, and a defender. United have been strongly linked with Kim Min-jae as a defender. “It appears that Van Gaal wants a new striker, midfielder and defender to bolster his options,” wrote Team Talk, “and indeed, it looks like he is taking positive steps to sign Kim for the first time.”
Man Utd have been watching Kim Min-Jae for around seven months now
Team Talk also quoted Fabrizio Romano, a journalist who is well versed in the European transfer market. “Italian outlets claim that an agreement has already been reached to bring Kim to Old Trafford. Romano also elaborated on United’s interest in Kim,” the report said.
“United have been working on a deal for Kim for several months,” Romano told Gazzetta dello Sport, “and in order to sign him, the Red Devils would have to start the process in late October, early November at the latest. After that, the club sent scouts to Italy, and they always watched Kim during the Napoli game. Kim had a great game and was the best central defender in the Italian Serie A this season. He is doing very, very well,” he praised. In other words, the team had been eyeing Kim for about seven months.
According to Team Talk, “Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti considers Kim Min-jae to be one of the best defenders in the world. It’s hard to argue with that claim, considering Napoli won the Serie A title.” “However, Kim’s time at Napoli is getting shorter and shorter. It’s looking increasingly likely that he will sign for United. If United sign Kim, they will have to say goodbye to Harry Maguire. Maguire has already disappeared from Van Gaal’s plans.”
What Kim has done this season and why big clubs want him
Kim joined Napoli from Fenerbahçe (Turkkiye) at the end of the 2021-22 season. He immediately established himself as the club’s first-choice central defender and made the leap to world-class defense. He made 34 league appearances, playing solid defense in every game. He also scored two goals. With Kim’s breakout season, Napoli returned to the top of Serie A for the first time in 33 years after the 1989-90 season. Kim made history by becoming the first Korean to win a Scudetto (a shield-shaped emblem worn by the Serie A champions on their jerseys the following season). Previously, “Korean soccer’s living legend” Lee Chung-hwan played for Perugia and “Korean Messi” Lee Seung-woo (now with Suwon FC) played in Serie A with Verona, but never won a trophy. In addition, Kim became the third player in Europe’s top five leagues to reach the top flight, joining Park Ji-sung of Manchester United and Jung Woo-young of Bayern Munich.
For his performance, Kim was honored with a 45-man nomination for the Serie A Team of the Year for the 2022-2023 season. He was one of 13 defenders to make the list. He was up against some of the best defenders in the league, including Chris Smalling (AS Roma), Gleison Bremer (Juventus), Giorgio Scalvini (Atalanta), and Alessio Romagnoli (Lazio). On top of that, he was ranked in the world’s top 11 by the global soccer community Score90. On paper, the defense is world-class. Along with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), the back line included Alfonso Davies (Bayern Munich), Jubeng Dias (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), and Kim Min-jae. Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan (both Manchester City) and Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal) round out the midfield, while Vinicius Junior (Real), Elling Holland (Man City) and Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) occupy the forward positions.
No. 15 Korean Premier League player of all time
This isn’t the first time United have been linked with a move for Kim Min-jae. Earlier, The Sun reported that “Man United are close to signing Kim Min-jae,” citing a report from Italy’s Il Martino. United are in need of Kim as well. First-choice central defenders Rafael Varane and Lisandro Martinez are struggling with injuries. The likes of Maguire and Victor Lindelof are certain to leave the club this summer after falling out of contention for a starting spot. Two other defenders, Phil Jones and Axel Thiangueb, have also been linked with moves away. Therefore, if Kim Min-jae were to join United, he would be able to fill the gap immediately as a first-choice central defender.메이저놀이터
There have already been local reports that not only United but also Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Newcastle, Liverpool, and Manchester City are interested in Kim. Kim’s buyout clause, which allows him to leave without his club’s consent, will be triggered in July. For now, it looks like Man United are the favorites to land the player. If Kim ends up in the English Premier League, he will become the 15th Korean Premier League player of all time, joining Park Ji-sung and Lee Young-pyo, Seol Ki-hyun, Lee Dong-guk, Kim Doo-hyun, Cho Won-hee, Lee Chung-yong, Ji Dong-won, Park Joo-young, Ki Sung-yong, Yoon Seok-young, Kim Bo-kyung, Son Heung-min, and Hwang Hee-chan.