Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Tottenham tipped to trigger £39m summer release clause to pinch major Man Utd, Liverpool centre-back target

Eljif Elmas, Kim Min-jae Napoli

Tottenham are being tipped to trigger the release clause to sign a top Serie A centre-back also being chased by both Manchester United and Liverpool this summer.

Spurs are expected to be on the hunt for at least one, possibly two central defenders come the end of the season, despite the fact that a new permanent manager is not yet in place after Antonio Conte’s exit.

And one of the players they have been heavily linked with since last summer is Napoli star Kim Min-Jae.

The 26-year-old has a huge impression in his season in Naples, with his performances catching the attention of a number of clubs – including both Liverpool and United.

A report from the Daily Mail named Tottenham as one of the clubs that were keen on activating the South Korea international’s exit clause.

And now journalist Ben Jacobs has confirmed the interest for a player who could leave for €45 million (£39.3m) in the summer.

Jacobs told CaughtOffside: “My understanding is that Tottenham and Liverpool are ones to watch. Remember, Kim is 26 so won’t want to move to any top European club as only a squad player.”

There is certainly no question of Kim not being a starter at Tottenham, given their defensive struggles this season.

Cristian Romero remains the club’s only true world-class centre-back. However, the World Cup winner’s reckless nature often leads to mistakes or errors of judgment.

New manager could bring new Tottenham shape

It’s fair to point out, however, that Romero looks much more comfortable playing in a back four at international than he does in a three at Spurs.

He often finds himself isolated in one-one-ones out wide and that is not where his strengths lie.

But, depending on who the next Tottenham manager is, there could well be a switch away from Conte’s favoured three-man defence. That move would clearly benefit Romero but also Kim, if he does move to north London.

Spurs could also call on Kim’s international teammate Son Heung-Min to try and convince the player to move to join him.

The release clause for a player of Kim’s ability is also viewed as a real bargain, although it remains to be seen where the player himself is keen on moving to – if at all.

Tottenham are back in action on Saturday when they host in-form Brighton in the Premier League.

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