Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd transfers: Ten Hag ‘convinced’ to seal blockbuster signing of Napoli king pin with deal freeing up troubled trio to make much-needed moves

Eljif Elmas, Kim Min-jae Napoli

Manchester United are reported to be close to tying up the loose ends to the signing of Napoli defender Kim Min-jae – with their first new arrival of the summer seemingly hinging on one crucial element.

The Red Devils are making rapid strides under Erik ten Hag’s guidance. Having led them to Carabao Cup glory, they will hope to add to their trophy haul when they contest the FA Cup final against Manchester City.

Two pieces of silveware – together with their much-craved top-four finish – would represent a hugely-successful season for Ten Hag. And hopes will be lifted that even better is to come, particularly off the back of another progressive summer.

Indeed, having spent just over £200m last summer, the United boss is readying himself for a similar spree this time around. And with at least three blockbuster signings in his sights, United will hope the 2023/24 season can see even greater progress made.

Now it seems the first of those signings in the form of Napoli king pin Kim is close to being finalised.

The tough South Korean defender has proved a revelation in the heart of the Napoli rearguard. But having helped Gli Azzurri to a first domestic title in 33 years, his time in Naples could prove to be brief.

Indeed, a €52m exit clause – that comes into affect in the first two weeks in July – means Napoli are at the mercy of some of the game’s big guns.

And while interest has come from Manchester City and Liverpool, it’s United who are at the front of the queue.

To that end, reports on Monday claimed United have a ‘high chance’ of signing up Kim this summer.

Man Utd tie up loose ends of Kim Min-jae transfer

Now reports in the Italian media have provided an update on the prospective move to take Kim to Old Trafford.

And it seems the Red Devils are willing to pay Napoli a premium fee – some €5m above the asking price – to get the deal done before his clause kicks into gear.

That fee €57m fee (£49.6m) still represents money well spent on the 26-year-old. As per Il Matino, United are seemingly on the brink of finalising the arangement.

Kim has reportedly told Napoli he has no intention to sign their offer of an extension. And his heart is seemingly very much intent on moving to Old Trafford. United will offer the 26-year-old a substantial pay-hike too, thus making the move even more appealing.

However, the move will remain subject to United securing their place in the top-four. Indeed, Kim is only willing to sign for a side who can offer Champions League football.

Il Matino are adamant the move will be done if United see the job of finishing in the top four through. They claim the deal is now ‘just a matter of details’ with United ‘convinced’ to bring Kim to Old Trafford.

Kim will reportedly sign a four-year deal at Old Trafford with the option of an additional year.

But his signing will also pave the way for a number of other exits at centre-half, with three men now seemingly cleared to depart.

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First through the exit door are Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe; neither of whom have featured under Ten Hag this season. The defensive duo will depart as free agents, with Jones’ exit bringing to a close his 12-year stay.

Their departures were confirmed by transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano earlier on Tuesday.

The arrival of Kim will also grant troubled United captain Harry Maguire the chance to move on too. He has fallen down the pecking order under Ten Hag. And even left-back Luke Shaw has been occasionally preferred ahead of him in the heart of defence.

As such, United have reportedly let it be known to suitors they are open to offers for the 30-year-old.

Quite how much they will get for the England regular remains to be seen. With two years left on his contract, and having paid a whopping £80m for his services, they face having to take a huge hit on their investment.

On the flip side, the sale of Maguire will allow the club to retain the services of Victor Lindelof. His current arrangement is due to expire in summer 2024 with United holding a one-year option on that.

Regarded as fourth choice, it seems the Swede will stay with United, despite links to the likes of Inter Milan.

That will leave Lindelof to play back-up to Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane and, should he sign up, Kim.

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