Manchester United are reportedly keeping tabs on Napoli defender Kim Min-jae, with the South Korea international having impressed since arriving in Italy in the summer.
What’s the word?
Recent reports have claimed that the Red Devils are one of the sides who are lining up a move for the 26-year-old at present, alongside the likes of fellow Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur and Serie A giants, Juventus.
Journalist Carlo Garganese – speaking to GIVEMESPORT – has now provided an update on United’s interest in the 46-cap gem, with the transfer insider revealing that Erik ten Hag’s may have a brief window next summer to exercise the centre-back’s release clause.
He stated: “I know they’ve been scouting him. I actually know this; I wrote about this maybe a month or two ago. United’s scouts have been looking at Kim Min-jae, he only joined Napoli this past summer. But the key with him is he has a minimum fee release clause in his Napoli contract, and it’s only around about €50 million (£43m).
“It’s only valid for foreign clubs, but the key is that it’s only valid for two weeks. I’m not sure about the exact timing, but I think it’s at the start of July, or some point in July, though I’m assuming it’s at the start of July.”
Imagine him and Martinez
This comes amid recent reports that claimed Ten Hag is looking to strengthen his backline in the near future, with the Dutchman seemingly willing to move on club captain Harry Maguire to facilitate that upgrade.
The 29-year-old has made just three starts in the Premier League this season after losing his place in the side to summer signing Lisandro Martinez, with the latter man having formed a promising pairing with Raphael Varane in recent months.
Should Man United sign Kim Min-jae?
The Frenchman’s injury woes have, however, laid bare the need for further competition, while fellow centre-back Victor Lindelof has come in for criticism throughout his time at Old Trafford, with club legend Roy Keane previously stating that the Swede “has let Man United down far too many times“.
It looks as if a long-term partner for the aforementioned Martinez is required, with the Argentine international having been truly “exceptional” so far this term, in the words of journalist Casey Evans, having arguably been United’s “player of the season“, according to Manchester Evening News’ Samuel Luckhurst.
Adding Kim alongside the former Ajax warrior seemingly has the makings of a truly fearsome defensive partnership, with the 6 foot 3 ace having been “Napoli’s rock” in the 2022/23 campaign thus far, in the words of Serie A expert Matteo Bonati.
The £54k-per-week sensation – who left former club Fenerbahce back in July – has been integral to helping steer Luciano Spalletti’s side to the top of the table, proving a truly imposing presence at the heart of the defence as he ranks in the top 12% in Europe for aerial duels won.
With Martinez’s tenacity and ball-playing quality – having been likened to former Red Devils midfielder Michael Carrick for his passing ability by Patrice Evra – alongside the towering titan, Ten Hag could well have a menacing duo on his hands.