Manchester United have been told exactly what they need to do to sign a Napoli player next summer, though there is a clause which could put the transfer in doubt.
Manchester United are in a good place right now after going unbeaten in their last seven matches in all competitions. They bagged a last-gasp equaliser at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to draw 1-1 with Chelsea in the Premier League.
And Manchester United made it four wins from five Europa League games by beating Sheriff Tiraspol 3-0 on Thursday night. Diogo Dalot, Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo all got on the scoresheet for the Red Devils.
Erik ten Hag will be hoping his team can continue their good run of form when they come up against West Ham on Sunday afternoon. The manager and all of his players will be focused on the West Ham clash. But Man Utd’s senior officials, including John Murtough, will be looking at the club’s long-term future and the players who could arrive at Old Trafford.
PSV star Cody Gakpo is their top target in attack. And the Dutchman apparently wants to join Man Utd, making a 2023 move likely.
In terms of improving the defence, Man Utd are eyeing up Napoli star Kim Min-jae.
He is a regular in the Napoli starting eleven, having featured in 15 out of their 16 games so far this season. Kim, who plays as a centre-back, has helped the Italian side to keep five clean sheets so far. They are tearing up Serie A and have a three-point lead at the top of the table.
Napoli also sit top of Champions League Group A, having won all of their five matches and scored 20 goals.
Napoli facing Man Utd, Spurs interest
Luciano Spalletti would love to keep Kim at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium as he is a vital part of their defensive solidity.
However, Napoli are at risk of losing Son Heung-min’s South Korea team-mate to Premier League clubs. Son recommended Kim to Tottenham in 2020. They opted against a move for him but are now regretting that decision. Antonio Conte’s side may swoop for the 25-year-old next year.
Man Utd are also big admirers of Kim. Reports claim Harry Maguire could be under serious threat as Ten Hag wants to sign Kim, which would see him compete with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane for a starting place.
On October 4, Italian outlet Il Mattino claimed Kim has a €50million (£43.6m) release clause in his contract. It activates at the end of the season and is only available to Europe’s elite clubs.
Napoli’s lawyer, Mattia Grassani, has conducted an interview in Italy where he has clarified Kim’s clause.
Kim Min-jae window is worryingly short
Grassani states Man Utd have a perilously short window to sign Kim as the clause will only be eligible for 15 days.
“In the summer, the Kim Min-jae clause will be valid for 15 days,” the representative said (via Sport Witness).
“The will of the club where there are clauses is to limit the validity of the clause for a very short time. For the simple reason that, in this way, any departures and replacements can be evaluated in time.”
Sport Witness, who carry the quotes, dispute the clause and claim it is worth €45m (£38m), rather than the previously stated figure.
Napoli’s decision makes sense. They know Kim is a valuable player and have inserted a £38m release clause to prevent him from leaving on the cheap. Plus, they are protected by his contract, which lasts for another three years.
As Grassani says, Napoli want to be able to find a centre-back replacement if Kim moves to Man Utd.
Grassani’s comments will serve as an obvious warning to Ten Hag and Man Utd. They must move incredibly quickly to land Kim once the 15-day period opens.
It took Man Utd over a year to land Jadon Sancho after originally beginning talks with Dortmund for him in 2020. Murtough also held discussions with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong practically all summer before ultimately losing out on the signing.
Clearly, Man Utd need to go about their business more intelligently if they are to sign Kim in the summer.