Who is Kim Min-Jae? The €50m Napoli ‘monster’ wanted by Man Utd

Carlo Garganese
Carlo Garganese
  • 5 Oct 2022 17:55 BST
  • 5 min read
Kim Min-Jae, Napoli, 2022-23
© ProShots

Kim Min-Jae has been one of the best signings of the 2022 summer transfer window so far, enjoying a brilliant start to the 2022-23 season.

So much so that he is already being linked with a number of even bigger European clubs for 2023, including Manchester United.

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So what do we know about the 25-year-old?

What position does Kim Min-Jae play in?

Kim Min-Jae is a central defender.

How good is Kim Min-Jae?

Kim Min-Jae signed for Napoli this past summer from Fenerbahce for €18 million as a replacement for Kalidou Koulibaly, who moved to Chelsea for over double that price.

There were big fears over whether Kim and Napoli’s other summer signings would be able to replace all the experienced stars they sold in pre-season, with Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, Fabian Ruiz and David Ospina all moving on.

However, Kim and fellow new-boy Kvara Kvaratskhelia have been revelations, leading Napoli to the top of Serie A.

Napoli have been arguably the standout team in the Champions League so far, thrashing Liverpool 4-1, Rangers 3-0 and Ajax 6-1 in their group matches.

Kim has been a colossus at centre back alongside Amir Rrahmani. They have immediately forged an impressive partnership.

The South Korean is nicknamed ‘The Monster’ due to his impressive physical qualities. He stands at 6ft 4in and is very aggressive in the challenge and superb in the air.

Kim Min-jae, Napoli, 2022/23
© ProShots

He is also an excellent marker and positionally sound.

This season he is ranked first in Serie A for interceptions, demonstrating that he reads the game superbly.

He is second for challenges won in Serie A, fourth for defensive challenges won and second for air challenges won, as per InStat. He is also third for ball recoveries.

It is fair to say that Napoli have not missed Koulibaly at all, as Kim has matched him in every defensive department so far.

He was rewarded by being named Serie A Player of the Month for September.

If there is one weakness in his game, there is possibly room for improvement with his distribution of the ball. But as his brilliant backheel against Torino in his own area in matchday eight showed, he has the skills and confidence to develop that part of his game, too.

“We all had doubts about Kim after Koulibaly was gone. I call him soldier boy, he’s there and he never makes mistakes,” Italy defensive legend and 1982 World Cup winner Giuseppe Bergomi said.

“Maybe in the build-up he is less strong than Koulibaly, but defensively he is more careful. And that for a defender is very important.

“A defender must always get 6, 6 and a half rating, he must never make mistakes.

He’ll also make mistakes, but that’s where there were the biggest doubts and this guy is doing well.”

Kim also has integrated himself well into the Napoli dressing room, with a memorable rendition of Gangnam Style during his squad initiation.

“When Kim sang Gangnam Style in his initiation ceremony, you could see what a fun guy he is! I remember the day after in training he was saying to himself in Italian 'Go. Stop. Run. Go. Stop. Run.' Over and over again, just to remember them,” Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti said last month.

Kim has won 44 caps for South Korea, scoring three goals and will play for his country at the World Cup in November.

What clubs are interested in Kim Min-Jae?

Like a host of other Napoli stars, Kim Min-Jae is already attracting admiring glances from big European clubs ahead of 2023.

Manchester United have been widely reported as being interested in activating the defender’s release clause.

At the end of the season, Kim will have a €45-50m minimum fee release clause that will come into effect for foreign clubs.

Napoli are hoping to sign him to a new contract that can remove or raise this release clause fee.

When does Kim Min-Jae’s contract expire?

Udogie signed a five-year contract Tottenham until June 30, 2025.

How old is Kim-Min Jae?

Udogie was born on 15 November, 1996. He is 25.

What is Kim Min-Jae’s height?

Udogie is 191cm, or around 6ft 4in.

What is Kim Min-Jae’s Instagram?

Kim Min-Jae’s Instagram has 567k followers as of October, 2022.


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