The transfer of Kim Min-jae (27, Napoli) has been accepted locally. Italian media predicted that Kim will not return to Napoli.
“Kim Min-jae has left Napoli,” the Italian newspaper Calcio Napoli 24 reported on June 6 (KST). He said goodbye to his teammates,” reported Calcio Napoli 24.
Kim completed the official schedule for the 2022-23 season on May 5 with the final league match against Sampdoria. Kim celebrated by winning the Serie A’s best defense award in front of Napoli’s home fans. The local media predicted that this would be the last time Kim and Napoli would play together.
Currently, Kim is on the radar of several English Premier League (EPL) clubs, including Manchester United. It seems that Man Utd is actively pursuing the player. Reports of a potential transfer are popping up every day.
Less than a year after joining Napoli, there’s a good reason for the move. Kim has already established himself as one of the best defenders in Serie A and has proven to be a world-class player. The transfer fee is also relatively low. His buyout clause of around 50 million euros ($70 million) is reportedly triggered between January 1 and 15 next month. Napoli are also in a difficult position to hold on to Kim, whose stock has risen.
Calcio Napoli 24 reported, “Kim Min-jae will leave Napoli to sign with Manchester United. We are just waiting for the official announcement, which will come in mid-July. Napoli fans can’t avoid the departure of their great idol.” The media did not doubt the parting of ways, saying that the last time they saw him was when he shared his joy with his teammates after the final, lifting the trophy.
Kim Min-jae returned home on June 6 through Incheon International Airport. With the winner’s medal around his neck and the Serie A Best Defense award, he met his fans. Fans gathered at the airport with Kim’s jersey and chanted “KIM-KIM-KIM” to encourage him. Kim repeatedly thanked them.
The 2022-23 season was Kim’s season. He joined Napoli in July of last year and quickly made his way into the starting lineup. He became the leader of the Napoli backline and became the first Asian player to win the Serie A Player of the Month award in September last year. He didn’t falter throughout the season. He repeatedly shut down the league’s top strikers, drawing praise from local media.
For Napoli, who are back at the top of Serie A for the first time in 33 years, Kim Min-jae is considered a “protagonist”. Along with the likes of Hvitsa Kvarachelia and Victor Osimhen, he was considered a key part of the defense. This is evidenced by the fact that he won the league’s best defense award, which is only given to one player. That’s why big clubs want him. 안전놀이터
“It’s been a crazy season, but I feel like I’ve accomplished my goals,” Kim told reporters at the airport after stepping onto South Korean soil following his best season yet.
Kim, who won gold at Jakarta-Palembang 2018 and received military service benefits, will enter Nonsan Training Center on June 15 for basic military training. He will not participate in the two June A matches (Peru-El Salvador). The transfer process is expected to begin in earnest three weeks after his arrival.