Man Utd want to sign Napoli defender Kim Min-jae in January and details of South Korean’s release clause have been confirmed, though a trusted source claims all is not what it seems.
The 25-year-old was signed by Napoli this summer to replace Chelsea-bound Kalidou Koulibaly. Kim Min-jae arrived fron Turkish side Fenerbahce for a fee in the region of £15.5m having been courted by a series of European giants, including Tottenham.
“Inter, Juventus, Tottenham, Rennes and Roma have tried to sign Kim, and many clubs have held meetings on video,” said Kim’s advisor, Ho Lee.
“But we wanted Kim to be able to play in a good team with a certain continuity, and that team was Napoli,” he added.
Since moving to Naples, Kim has bedded in quickly and has been an integral part of their fast start to the new campaign.
Indeed, he’s started eight of Napoli’s nine matches across all competitions. He’s even provided a pair of goals to go along with his solid defensive displays.
Napoli currently top both Serie A and Group A in the Champions League. Kim’s manful displays have been a major factor on both fronts.
However, his performances have not gone unnoticed.
CNN Turkey reported Manchester United have liked what they’ve seen and are prepared to activate his release clause in January. The reason CNN Turkey are reporting on Kim likely stems from the fact he recently played for Turkish side Fenerbahce.
Now, trusted Italian source, Gianluca Di Marzio, has shed light on Kim’s situation at Napoli.
Release clause has a catch
Di Marzio confirmed the South Korean does have a release clause, though it’s higher than what’s been speculated. Furthermore, he outlined why a move in January cannot happen.
Via his own website, the Sky Italia journalist stated Kim’s release clause is actually around the €50m mark, not €45m.
Regardless, he added the clause cannot be triggered in January. Napoli seemingly negotiated that it can only be activated after one full year at the club.
As such, Man Utd could attempt to sign Kim in January, though the release clause is a non-factor. That means they’d have to bid an amount Napoli would be willing to accept. It stands to reason they’d command higher than the release clause.
A move may therefore have to wait until next summer if the speculation around United’s interest and admiration is accurate.
Why sign Kim Min-jae after Martinez arrival?
In Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane, Erik ten Hag has a budding partnership that contains a little bit of everything.
The Dutchman can also call upon Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof if and when required.
That begs the question: why is Kim Min-jae needed too?
The Manchester Evening News recently hinted at the reason, stressing depth pieces Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe will leave Old Trafford next summer.
Tuanzebe will be out of contract, while United hold an option to extend Jones’ deal by 12 months. However, that option is unlikely to be taken up.
Furthermore, the MEN previously claimed Lindelof could also depart in 2023 if a new centre-half arrived this summer.
Martinez joined from Ajax, relegating the Sweden international down to fourth choice.
His deal expires in 2024 and next summer would represent the ideal time to cash in, especially if Ten Hag has ideas of dipping into the market once again, perhaps for Kim Min-jae.