The story of Kim Min Jae’s transfer is a rapidly evolving one. After completing a picture perfect season (Serie A defender of the year, Serie A XI, scudetto winner, insane stats) that established him as one of the top center backs in the world, Kim Min Jae has attracted attention from many top clubs, especially a release clause in his contract that activates on 7/1/2023. Though he is currently undergoing his truncated military service thanks to his gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games, he is due to be discharged soon and within the next couple of days, we will probably see Kim Min Jae playing for his next club. A few months ago it seemed that staying at Napoli was a possibility; however, now it seems that he is 100% certain to leave. At the time of writing it seems that Bayern Munich is the leading contender for KMJ’s signature but keep in mind that things CAN always change last minute. In this post we will review the teams that have reportedly been interested in KMJ.
Manchester United was the first club that was reportedly interested in Kim Min Jae, even during the middle of the Serie A season. A lot of news outlets claimed that he was at the top of Ten Haag’s transfer list. It’s not hard to see why – most would probably rate Kim higher than any of Varane, Lisandro Martinez, or Harry Maguire. KMJ (as many Koreans tend to do) reportedly has dreams of playing in the Premier League, and inevitable connections to Park Ji Sung were made.
I know that a lot of our readers are Man United fans from the Park Ji Sung days, so this must have been welcomed by many Korean fans. Personally I dislike Man U because PJS left and Shinji Kagawa came in – so while I wasn’t PERSONALLY a fan of this, I could see how it could be an attractive option. Ten Haag is doing decently well in his first season, KMJ would be an instant starter, and he would continue the legacy of Park and perhaps become a club legend. Unfortunately, I just don’t see Man U challenging for any trophies – they’re nowhere near City right now and if Osimhen and Kvara were to stay I would’ve advocated for staying at Napoli over going to United.
There was a bit of drama in this Man United saga too. Since the rumors were circulating since December, a lot of media people have been pressing him about his thoughts, and obviously during the season he always said “I’m focused on Napoli right now.” However it turns out that there were some shady dealings going on behind Kim Min Jae’s back (see the tweet below).
No fingers were pointed but it wouldn’t surprise me if a Korean journalist (Han Jun is a prime suspect) went out of his way to do things like this (he’s done stuff like this before).
^this is a Google news screenshot I took 6/3. Obviously you shouldn’t believe any of this stuff since media sources parrot each other all the time, but still. It looked like it might be happening.
It also seemed like Man United were willing to go above and beyond to sign KMJ and for many months they seemed like the favorites. Unfortunately for some (but fortunately in my eyes), a stronger club came around and although apparently they are only willing to pay the minimum amount to trigger the release cluase, they looking more likely to sign KMJ.
Newcastle United, Tottenham
Towards the end of the season it was reported that Newcastle might try to “hijack” the Man United move. However it didn’t seem like much came of this rumor, and it was thought that KMJ was essentially certain to move to Man U. Tottenham was mentioned too because of course, but we don’t need to talk about that.
PSG, Man City
PSG and Manchester City links came up sometime in March-April. Nothing came much of PSG – he was reportedly just on their list without a serious offer coming in.
Man City though would resurface later on with a few reports stating that Man City would look to beat both United AND Bayern for Kim Min Jae. However, it seems that Man City would prefer the much younger Josko Gvardiol to Kim Min Jae. A real shame – you guys know I am a big fan of Korean players moving to City.
Sometime around 6/14-6/15, Bayern Munich entered the race.
Bayern to me is a perfect team for Kim Min Jae. They are inevitably gonna win titles (take note Son Heung Min). Thomas Tuchel plays 3 ATB and both Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard look like they’ll leave the club. The team is a striker away from being a straight up Champions League contender, and seeing Kim Min Jae play alongside De Ligt and Upamecano would be incredible. If you Google articles about “best CBs” in the world, you’ll see that some sites rank Kim Min Jae higher than De Ligt or Upamecano while some rate De Ligt or Upamecano higher mostly due to the fact that Kim Min Jae is a very new face on the scene. Either way, my point is that these three CBs are absolutely in the conversation re: the top 10 CBs in the world, and it would be insane watching this backline.
Also imagine if Harry Kane does end up signing for Bayern? Watching this team would be so much fun. Imagine us Korean fans getting to watch Bayern and PSG every week – two *essentially* guaranteed league titles too.
The one complicating factor in this is that Bayern is ALSO apparently interested in signing Pau Torres from Villarreal (a lot of clubs interested in KMJ have Torres on their radar too). And obviously it wouldn’t make sense to sign both (and if they do that would make this transfer less ideal, although to anybody it should be clear Kim Min Jae is the better CB).
On an unrelated note I would LOVE to see Bayern sign Son as their #9 if they can’t get Kane… but after what happened with Mane that’s probably not happening. Another interesting point about Bayern is that KMJ would link up with Lee Hyeon Ju who plays for Bayern II. Our 20 year old attacking midfielder talent unfortunately missed the U20 World Cup due to injury.
Anyway, Bayern is looking like it’s 99% done at this point (Transfermarkt says 83%). Around 50 million Euros, this would make Kim Min Jae by and far the most expensive Asian signing to date (previously held by Son Heung Min at 30 mil).
As things stand it seems Kim Min Jae is going to Bayern. I am a huge fan of this. We have such a special player on our hands – someone who’s actually at the very top of his position and is being courted by the best of the best. Someone who goes from the Turkish League to winning the Scudetto the next season and who might win the Bundesliga the literal season after that. In the last 2 weeks we’ve seen Man United as favorites, then Bayern coming out of nowhere, then Man City reportedly hijacking the Bayern deal, back to Bayern, and in the middle of all that there was also a Korean article saying PSG were favorites over Bayern. What a time to be a Korean football fan.
So what do you guys think? Should Kim Min Jae go to Manchester United? Or Bayern? Or PSG to link up with Lee Kang In? At this rate it a second season with Napoli doesn’t look likely. Let us know in the comments.