Napoli’s sporting director has confirmed two aspects in the contract of a Man Utd target that gives Erik ten Hag a perilously short window to complete a deal.
Arguably the greatest success story among many in Man Utd’s summer window is Lisandro Martinez. Concerns were raised about the Argentine’s ability to handle Premier League attacks given his relatively short stature for a centre-half.
However, despite standing at 5ft 9in, Martinez has not only been United’s best centre-back this season, but one of the finest in the entire league.
He’s already struck up a promising partnership with Raphael Varane, something that has relegated club captain Harry Maguire to a bench role.
However, according to various reports in Italy, Erik ten Hag is not finished reshaping his central defensive options just yet.
Man Utd are understood to have ‘set their sights’ on Napoli’s Kim min-jae in 2023.
The South Korea international was previously a target for Tottenham, though it was Napoli who swooped to the tune of £15.6m last summer.
Kim has been a revelation since arriving from Fenerbahce and has been a mainstay in a side that remarkably hold an eight-point advantage over second-placed AC Milan in Serie A going into the World Cup.
Man Utd target holds tempting release clause
Napoli are believed to have inserted a release clause in Kim’s contract worth either €50m or €45m – the figure has been disputed.
The reliable Gianluca Di Marzio previously reported the clause can only be triggered after Kim has completed one full year at Napoli, meaning he can be signed starting from next summer.
There’s more to the clause than that, however, with multiple sources claiming the deal can only be triggered over a short window and by overseas clubs.
Now, via Fabrizio Romano, Napoli sporting director, Cristiano Giuntoli, has confirmed two aspects of Kim’s contract.
Giuntoli firstly confirmed a release clause exists before adding it’s only relevant to certain clubs. That would seem to confirm the previous claim it can only be triggered by teams outside of Italy.
Furthermore, the Napoli chief added the clause will only be valid for “15 days in July”.
That is likely with a view to ensuring Napoli don’t see such a vital figure poached closer to the beginning of the next campaign, though does give Ten Hag and any other interested managers a perilously short window to make their moves.
Kim min-jae clause clarified
“Yes, there’s a release clause that varies depending on the potential interested club,” said Giuntoli.
“The clause will only be valid for 15 days in July.”
Aware Napoli may wind up losing such an important figure for less than his true market value, Giuntoli added: “We’re already thinking of discussing a new deal.”
Should a player of Kim’s calibre arrive at Old Trafford, further doubt will be cast on the future of Maguire.
The £80m man is already out of favour under Ten Hag and another high quality signing would relegate him to fourth choice.
Maguire will be 30 by the start of next season and clearly, a decision on his future would have to be made.