A month ago, Manchester United was the favorite. But now it’s back to square one.
Kim Min-jae has been perfect in Serie A all season. From his debut season in Italy, Kim quickly became Napoli’s first-choice center back, leading Napoli to their first Serie A title in 33 years.
United have been monitoring Kim since the beginning of the season, sending scouts to Napoli and becoming more active in the second half of the season. On April 13 (KST), the British media ‘Express’ mentioned Kim as the No. 1 center back target for the next summer transfer market, and the British ‘Daily Mail’ said, “Kim has a £39 million (approx. KRW 63.9 billion) buyout, which United are targeting.”
The transfer rumors grew louder by the day. On May 15, reports emerged in Italy that Kim was close to completing a move to Manchester United. Italian media outlet Il Matino reported, “Kim Min-jae has agreed to join Man United. “The club is already in talks with the player and brokers have convinced him to move to the English Premier League (EPL),” the Italian outlet reported.
The transfer rumors intensified day by day. On the heels of Il Martino’s report of a move to Man Utd, reports surfaced on the 20th that Kim Min-jae had purchased a villa in Manchester. ‘Il Matino’ reported on the 20th, “The deal between Kim Min-jae and Manchester United appears to be virtually complete. Kim has already secured a luxury villa in the Alderley Edge neighborhood of Manchester. He has signed a contract with United for an annual salary of 9 million euros (about 12.8 billion won) 먹튀검증.”
But there’s another contender emerging, and it’s not United. It’s Newcastle United, the Premier League’s “new riches” club. “Kim Min-jae’s move to Man United has been thrown further into doubt by a leap forward by a Premier League rival,” the UK’s Express reported on July 27.
“Newcastle could try to hijack the deal by outbidding United for Kim,” the publication continued. Newcastle have been in the process of adding to their squad since last season, when the club was bought by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, and Kim is on the list.
The Express, citing Portuguese outlet UOL Esports, reports that Newcastle are slowly pulling ahead in the race to sign Kim. “It is widely believed that United are trying to sign Kim Min-jae for £52 million. However, Newcastle are competing with United for Kim and have recently gained the upper hand in the race for his signature.” We’ll have to wait until the end of the season to find out where Kim’s impending move to United will end up.