A high profile Man Utd star will be sweating after another report confirmed the club’s interest in a Serie A standout who holds a release clause only certain clubs can trigger.
Harry Maguire’s career at club level is reaching something of a crossroads. The Manchester United captain, 29, has lost his place to Lisandro Martinez.
The Argentine has quickly formed a promising partnership alongside Raphael Varane. It proved no match for Man City in the derby, though very few defences are these days.
Martinez’s fast start has relegated Maguire to the bench and there are no signs he’ll win his place back any time soon.
He continues to hold the faith of Gareth Southgate at international level. And with England’s centre-back ranks far from convincing, Maguire still looks in line to start in Qatar.
However, any hopes of winning back his place at Old Trafford could suffer a hammer-blow in 2023.
The 25-year-old moved to Naples from Fenerbahce last summer in a deal costing around £15.6m. That figure already looks like a bargain given his fantastic form in Italy.
Kim has already been recognised for his stellar displays, scooping Serie A’s Player of the Month for September.
He’s scored twice already and his rock solid performances have helped Napoli top the table after eight rounds.
His talents are no surprise to Tottenham who were heavily linked with the centre-back over the summer. However, when they failed to pounce, Napoli swooped in.
Release clause terms see Man Utd chances rise
Reports have stressed Kim holds a €50m (approx. £43.6m) release clause in his contract. It can only be triggered from next summer onwards, meaning Napoli are safe in January.
Reliable Italian journalist, Gianluca Di Marzio, has previously confirmed the clause can only be activated after one full year at Napoli.
However, new details have emerged as to the exact nature of the clause that make good reading for United.
Italian outlet Il Mattino report the clause can only be triggered by overseas clubs.
Napoli seemingly negotiated that aspect of the deal to ensure they wouldn’t strengthen a domestic rival such as Juventus or Inter Milan in the event Kim is poached.
The report (via Napoli Magazine), again reaffirms Man Utd’s interest in the defender. In their words, the Red Devils have ‘set their sights’ on Kim for 2023.
Kim Min-jae would spell trouble for Maguire
Ten Hag already appears settled on the Varane-Martinez partnership. Maguire is third choice, but signing Kim would relegate him to fourth.
United also have Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe on the books. However, the Manchester Evening News previously reported all three could leave next summer.
Tuanzebe is out of contract at that time and there is no club option for a further 12 months.
United have one-year options in both Jones and Lindelof’s contracts. Their deals expire in the summer of 2023 and 2024 respectively.
However, the Telegraph claimed Ten Hag has instructed United chiefs to take a more ruthless approach to handing out contracts.
The Dutchman wants deals to be harder to earn amid fears his squad have and will continue to fall into comfort zones.
If Lindelof, Jones and Tuanzebe are all axed, United will need a new centre-half. If it’s Kim, Maguire chances of becoming a regular starter again will slip even further.