The transfer saga of Kim Min-jae (Napoli) is getting more intense. After a surprise switch to Napoli from Rennes, Kim has enjoyed a period of success. The possibility of Newcastle United joining Manchester United in the hunt for Kim has increased.
The Sun reported on July 7 (KST) that “Newcastle is aiming for a hijack on Kim Min-jae, whom Manchester United is actively pursuing,” and that “Newcastle has held secret talks with Kim Min-jae”.
The Sun went on to say, “Newcastle are weighing up a move for Man United’s target Kim Min-jae. He has a 42 million pound ($68.4 billion) release clause that activates on July 1, and United manager Eric ten Haag wants him.” “United is still the favorite to get Kim, but Newcastle is also keeping an eye on the situation,” the report said.
In the meantime, Kim has been a favorite of the Red Devils.
Calcio Mercato said, “United are close to signing Kim Min-jae. “United have been in talks with Kim’s agent for two months. They have offered a salary of 7 million euros (9.8 billion won).” The specific buyout (minimum transfer fee) was also revealed. According to the publication, Kim’s buyout is €60 million ($83.8 billion). United is ready to pay it.
Kim had one of his best seasons with Napoli in Serie A. Napoli won the Scudetto (Serie A title) for the first time in 33 years in the 2022-2023 season. Kim was named the best defender in his debut season in Serie A. He was recognized as the best defender in Italy, the home of the defense known as the catenaccio.
Big clubs had him on their watch lists, with Manchester United continuing to show interest in him. It was also reported that Kim was positive about joining United. They even finalized a personal agreement. “Management and Kim’s representatives met at Old Trafford (United’s home stadium) and reached a personal agreement,” ESPN reported.
He can also wear the number 3 on his back. Kim had previously worn the number 4 for his national team. However, he wore the number 3 during his time with Jeonbuk Hyundai, Fenerbahçe, and Napoli. Eric Bailly (Marseille) is the first player to wear the number 3. According to the British Express, “Kim Min-jae will wear the dream number three at United. United are looking to sell Bai in the summer transfer window. Bai’s back number was 3. If Bai leaves, Kim Min-jae could be given the number 3.”
The Sun emphasized that “Kim’s agent 먹튀검증 visited Newcastle’s home ground, St. James’ Park, during the club’s final game of the season and held talks with the board.”
At Napoli, Kim developed into one of the best center backs in Italy and Europe. His strong physicality, quick feet, and excellent anticipation helped him excel in Serie A and the UEFA Champions League. Not to mention his reliable build-up play.
The accolades for Kim Min-jae continued to roll in. After just one year of playing for Napoli, he was mentioned in the club’s all-time best 11. Broadcaster DAZN gave him a season rating of 10 and praised him for his best performance.
An Italian fan page commented, “Minjae Kim silenced all criticism with a tremendous performance in terms of intensity, competitiveness, and dynamism. He is a lock in front of goal” and gave him a 9 rating.
The void left by his predecessor, Kalidou Koulibaly, has long since been forgotten.
Football Italia applauded him, saying “Kim Min-jae was one of the best players of the season” and that “no one would have expected him to become an even bigger legend than Coulibaly in less than a year.”
Kim has had his fair share of personal accomplishments as well. In September last year, he made history by becoming the first Asian player to win the Serie A Player of the Month award, and in October, he was named the Italian Footballers’ Association’s Player of the Month. He was also named to the Serie A Team of the Year by EA SPOTRS FIFA.
Kim was also named Serie A’s best defender, beating out teammate and captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Theo Hernandez (AC Milan), who were both shortlisted in the top three, to become the league’s best defender in his debut season. He is also the first Asian player to do so.
Naturally, he was inundated with offers, and it was only a matter of time before he moved on. Among them, Man United emerged as a potential destination. According to European soccer transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the Red Devils have been monitoring Kim since last year, sending scouts to keep tabs on him, and he was their number one target.
There is even talk that Kim’s move to United is a foregone conclusion.
Il Martino has already claimed that the deal is a done deal and that the player has even found a place to live.
CBS Sports’ Ben Jacobs also reported that “United are leading the race to sign Kim Min-jae.”
However, Newcastle have emerged as a strong contender. Newcastle has been the new richest club since last season, when it was purchased by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund (PIF). Newcastle will be playing in the UCL next season, and now they’re looking to build on that with the addition of Kim Min-jae.
With so many competitions to play in, Newcastle will be looking to add Kim to the squad alongside Fabian Schurrle and Sven Boatman.
“Newcastle boss Eddie Howe wants a center back who can compete with Schurrle and Boateng at UCL,” says The Sun, adding that Jamal Lascelles is not part of his long-term plans and could leave the club this summer as he enters the final year of his contract.
Of course, Kim’s destination is not yet decided. The transfer window has not yet opened.
And before joining Napoli, Kim was set to join French Ligue 1 side Rennes. However, Napoli suddenly succeeded in signing him after a fierce competition.
There is also a lot of interest in the Premier League. It’s not just Manchester United and Newcastle that are interested in the player, but several other clubs as well. Just like the Rennes-Napoli rivalry, the competition for Kim could become even more intense.
Kim recently returned to Korea and will be undergoing three weeks of basic military training starting on the 15th of this month. There is no rush to sign him and negotiations are expected to begin in earnest after he completes his training.
According to The Sun, “Kim will decide his future next month after completing his military service. He wants to move to the Premier League just one season after signing with Napoli.”