[이데일리 스타in 이석무 기자] Can Kim Min-jae (27), a strong pillar of Korean football, wear the red uniform worn by senior Park Ji-sung?
The next season of Kim Min-jae, who led Napoli’s Italian Serie A championship in the first year of transfer, is of great interest. In particular, much attention is focused on whether Park Ji-sung will transfer to Manchester United in the English Premier League (EPL), where he played an active role.
In the British and other European media, news about Kim Min-jae’s man fashion pours in every day. It is not just a hopeful prediction from the domestic media or football fans. There are reports that “Kim Min-jae has already agreed to join Man Utd.”
It all started with the Italian press ‘Il Martino’. Il Martino said that “Kim Min-jae’s transfer to Manchester United is almost complete,” and “If Kim Min-jae leaves for Manchester United, he will receive an annual salary of 7.8 million pounds (about 12.8 billion after to win). In addition, “Napoli wants to stay, but Kim Min-jae will leave Napoli at the end of this season.”
British press reports followed. The ‘Evening Standard News’, a local newspaper in Manchester, said, “The negotiations between Manchester United and Kim Min-jae are almost over. We have already agreed on personal terms,” he said. “Kim Min-jae will be Manchester United’s first recruit in the summer transfer market.” He even mentioned a specific timetable, saying, “Kim Min-jae will fly to Manchester the next week to complete the transfer.”
Britain’s ‘Express’ presented the list of Manchester United’s expected transfers and recruits this summer, and chose Kim Min-jae as the first player to be recruited. The British media ‘Daily Mail’ and ‘Team Talk’ reported that “Man United have led the race to recruit Kim Min-jae, and that Newcastle have changed their plans.”
Even the American economic magazine ‘Forbes’ was included in the rumor about Kim Min-jae’s transfer. The media introduced, “Kim Min-jae, who has emerged as a superstar, is strongly linked with Manchester United, who announced a huge reinforcement.
Europe’s summer transfer window hasn’t started yet. The curtain will open in earnest on July 1, when all leagues and European club competitions are over. The transfer rumors coming out now are ‘sleep’ to the last. Nevertheless, it is unusual for news of Kim Min-jae’s man fashion to spill out in the field as a fait accompli. It can be assumed that a significant part of the discussions behind the scenes have already taken place.
Manchester United is a European club familiar to Korean fans along with Tottenham, where Son Heung-min is active. Korean football legend Park Ji-sung (now Technical Director of Jeonbuk Hyundai) worked for the club between 2005 and 2012. Man Utd, where Park Ji-sung played a big part, enjoyed the best of times, winning four championships EPL and one UEFA Champions League (UCL) championship. At this time, Manchester United was known as the ‘National Team’ in Korea. Even after the departure of Park Ji-sung, Manchester United remains one of the most popular clubs in Korea.
Manchester United have managed to revive after the worst collapse of last season. As soon as coach Eric ten Haag took over this season, they finished the first season in 3rd place. He also won a ticket to progress to the UCL next season. Manchester United’s goal is to win. It holds the record for the most league championships (13) since the inception of the EPL in 1992. According to ‘Sportico’, a specialist media sports business, Manchester United posted a profit close to 1 trillion won in 2022 alone . Manchester United have not been linked with winning the league since the 2012-13 season, under former manager Alex Ferguson. In order to somehow ensure results that match the value of the club, it is desperately needed to reinforce its power. In particular, the unstable defense needs to be solved.
Manchester United currently have centre-backs such as Rafael Varane (France), Lisandro Martinez (Argentina), Harry Maguire (England) and Victor Lindelof (Sweden). This season, Baran and Martinez came out as the main players, and Maguire and Lindelof came out as reserves. However, despite their excellent skills, both Varane and Martinez are injury prone. Of the 38 games in the EPL season, Baran played only 22 and Martinez only played 24. Maguire and Lindelof, the main players of the England and Sweden national teams, revealed their insecurities throughout the season. There were several times when I lost the game because of obvious mistakes. Names are already going up and down the list of candidates for release.
Kim Min-jae is being evaluated as a good alternative to solve Manchester United’s unstable defence. If he goes to Manchester United, he will inevitably compete with Baran and Martinez for the starting position. However, it seems that there is no need to worry about the opportunity to participate. There are countless games that Manchester United have to play in a season. Baran and Martinez, who can handle all of them, are less durable.
When Kim Min-jae moved to Napoli last year, he included a buyout clause of 50 million euros (about 70.6 billion won) in his contract. A buyout means that if another team offers more than the standard amount, it is possible to negotiate a transfer with the player without the team’s consent.
Kim Min-jae’s purchase will be temporarily implemented from July 1st to 15th. 50 million euros is not a small amount of money. However, considering Kim Min-jae’s current skills and value, he is rather cheap. Maguire, who has now become a garrison, transferred to Manchester United in 2019 for a staggering 87 million euros (about 122.9 billion won).
The issue of Kim Min-jae’s recruitment is expected to come up in earnest when the Serie A season ends. At the moment, the Manchester United transfer seems like a fait accompli, but when the transfer market opens, we don’t know how things will change. As the buyout period approaches, more teams are likely to jump in.
Apart from Manchester United, there are reports that other big clubs such as Newcastle, Manchester City and Liverpool are also interested in Kim Min-jae. Given his peak performance and relatively cheap transfer fee, no team can help but covet Kim Min-jae.
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